The Auction Page

Please remember that, as with 'Pianos for Sale', I have not usually seen these pianos, and any comments I make may be based entirely on information supplied by the auctioneers, or what we can see from the pictures.

Gardiner Houlgate December Sale

Amongst the usual amazing array, there will be three early keyboard instruments at this sale.  

Lot 1518 will be a small square piano c. 1825, believed to be of German or Austrian origin.

It has a 'Viennese' action with no dampers.  It is described having bone natura, which would make life easier for overseas buyers.  Estimate £1,200 - £1,800.



Lot 1553 is a four-octave Morley clavichord, number 605, in apparently very good condition as they usually are.  

The estimate for this one is just £200 - £300.



The square piano by Christopher Ganer isn listed as 'c. 1780' and the auctioneer makes the following comment:


Although the name board is inscribed 'Christopher Ganer Musical Instrument Maker' which suggests a date after 1784, it is probable that the name board was overwritten for resale and the actual date of manufacture is earlier. The absence of a bottom f sharp, the key escutcheon, that the dampers have built in pivoting rods and the overall style suggests this is an earlier date.

I wonder how he knew that?  Good advice, though.

Nice little piano in mostly original condition.  Estimate £800 - £1,200.




Oh yes, and by the way, the mystery object is an antique oak and fruitwood violin peg drill.  Every workshop should have one.


All images by, and by courtesy of Gardiner Houlgate.

Piano Auctions Ltd - December Sale

The Piano Auctions sale on December 14th will be held at G&R's new premises in Sydney Road, Watford.  


There will be five items of particular interest to us, from the Stanhope Collection.    All five are much better than average, and are reported to be in playing order.

First is a neat-looking Bates, like all Bates pianos dated 1793.

Restored by Jean Maurer.  The Stanhope Collection website asserts that it is in working order.  Provisionally, the estimate for this one is £1,000 - £1,500.




Then a 5½-octave Broadwood from dated 1800.  This one has the beautiful brass under-dampers.

Restored in the Stanhope workshops, and used on a concert tour in 2006.  Estimate £1,000 - £1,500.




Then we have a rather fine Elwerkemper Viennese grand.

Seen in the glamorous surroundings of the warehouse!  Five pedals (lyre detached in this photograph) for damper, moderator, bassoon, and Turkish effects.

The Stanhope website says that the name is Elwerkemper, but I'm not convinced, and there is no record of the name in Clinkscale.  Any suggestions please?


Thanks tp Pieter Kuiper in the Netherlands for the following comprehensive biography:



On your site you ask for some information on Heinrich Elwerkemper (aka Elberckembe) which I am happy to provide.
As the name shield on the piano which is now for sale tells, he was a Bürger in Wien, that is to say he was authorized by the Emperor to live in the city and make piano’s under his own name. He did so since 1811 when he took over the workshop of the Swiss builder Tobias Ohl who died in 1809. As was not uncommon in the old guild structure he also married the widow of Ohl.
Like all Vienese piano builders he lived in the area called Auf der Wieden. The simple reason for this being that it was close to the water, and more importantly close to the wood mills where large pieces of wood could be transported and sawn.
Elwerkemper was known als Klavier-und Orgelmacher, I am not aware of any organ build by him but the combination was quite common.
He lived from 1813 Paniglasse 85, from 1819 Alleegasse 29, from 1823 auf der alten Wieden 94 where he died in 1839.
So the instrument for sale can be dated 1811-1839, I would estimate closer to the first than to the latter based upon the photos now available.
 - Rudolf Hopfner, Wiener Instrumentenmacher 1766-1900, ed Kunsthistorisches museum Wien (1999)
 - Patrizio Barbieri, Pianos and piano-makers in 19th century Papal Rome mentions two grand piano’s for sale in Rome by Elwerkemper, one in mahagony, the second in walnut with 5 registers. Date 1849.
 - Georg Albrechtsberger, Gründliche Anweisung zur Composition mentions Elwerkemper as a renown Vienese builder in his 1830 and 1839 edition, not in the first edition from 1790. For obvious reasons.
 - mentions Elwerkemper and tells us that Schubert played a piano of him in 1828, during the last 3 months of his life.
In summary Elwerkemper was a respected builder in the large Vienese market though not a builder who produced at an industrial scale like Streicher or Graf, hence less famous and less known.

In the picture above we see the bar at left for the bassoon stop, and the bell or 'Turkish music'

A closer view of the moderator cloth.

Another one restored by Jean Maurer. 

Estimate £6,000 - £8,000 for this one.




Then a very interesting clavicytherium by John Paul

This is one of only three made by John Paul before 1969 with an aluminium frame and soundboard.  

In the picture above we see the back of the aluminium frame and stand.  


Estimate £1,000 - £1,500 for this one.




And finally, a very handsome Regency  cabinet piano by Thomas Tomkison, the man who really was the Royal Maker to the future King.

These imposing cabinet pianos are not usually in good order, but this one has been carefully restored, and is said to play well with a good tone.


Estimate £1,000 - £1,500.

All images by, and by courtesy of Piano Auctions Limited.



Also at the auction:

A two-manual harpsichord

by Alec Hodsdon, 1953.

Estimate £1,000 - £1,500

A two-manual harpsichord

by Michael Thomas.

Estimate £1,000 - £1,500

A clavichord by Roguski

Estimate £700 - £1000

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© David Hackett