Piano Auctions September Sale
and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos
We enjoyed the usual informal gathering of Friends of Square Pianos on the viewing day before, Wednesday 24th.
We offer our thanks to Richard, Terry, and Sean who always make us very welcome.
The first results are posted below. Please keep an eye on this page for further details of the pianos
The Star of the Sale was undoubtedly this lovely 1787 Broadwood Grand. This is one of the first grands to be made by John Broadwood, and indeed one of the very earliest English grand pianos. The example in the Colt Collection (number 203) is probably my favourite piano, if you don't count my own little Broadwood square from the same year. It is a delight to play and to listen to. Pianos got bigger and louder, but in my opinion they never got any better. If five octaves is enough for you -and it's enough for Mozart and much early Beethoven - then this could be a truly lovely piano.
The estimate for this truly classic piano is £10,000 - £15,000.
Sold for £20,500 (Hammer Price)
Another important item was this very interesting and beautiful example of a conventional very early London square piano. The short compass from GG and other details remind us very much of Zumpe.
However, the finely-inscribed name is something of a surprise: 'William Glover'. We thought we knew all the early London Makers (please don't mention 'The Twelve Apostles') - but Mr Glover is very much less well-known.
This piano appears to be in fine condition, and has evidently been recently restored. I do have further images if you'd like to email me.
If a similar piano by Johannes Zumpe were to appear at auction, it would surely attract a high price.
Estimate £4,000 - £6,000
Did not reach reserve.
The second early grand in this sale was a beautiful Clementi, 5½ octaves and 7'7" long. The stamped number is 451, which indicates a date of 1803 - 4.
The estimate for this one was £6,000 - £8,000.
Sold for £6,000
Two more squares - John Price (upper) and James Rigg (lower). Lesser-known names, but we believe that the Rigg, with the characteristic twin music-stands, was probably made by W Rolfe & Son.
Estimates £600 - £800 for either.
The John Price sold for nearly three times estimate, at £1,700, but the Rigg failed to reach reserve.
The little 1769 Pohlman makes a return appearance. This one has had more than its fair share of adventures, but it is one of the very earliest English square pianos, and the only one I have ever seen offered for sale whose date begins 176-. It is a rare thing indeed, and with an estimate of just £1,000 - £1,500 could be an unrepeatable opportunity for a new owner prepared to undertake the challenge of restoring it.
Sold for just £550,
The workshop of Robert Morley & Sons was a pioneer in the revival of interest in the early keyboard instruments, and their products are always well-made and potentially relaible. As found, they often need some adjustment, but seldom any major work. This one is a virginal in the Italian style, and could offer the opportunity for a lot of enjoyment and experience at an affordable price. The estimate is £500 - £700.
Sold for £300.
Specialist Musical Instrument Auctions
The firm of Gardiner Houlgate is established at Corsham, near Bath, and is becoming well-known for specialist musical instrument auctions. www.gardinerhoulgate.co.uk