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 Piano Auctions December Sale

and Meeting of Friends of Square Pianos


  The next Sale of Piano Auctions will take place on Thursday,  11th December, and there will be the usual informal gathering of Friends of Square Pianos on the viewing day before, Wednesday 10th.  


  There will be a splendid line-up of historic pianos as well as a few interesting modern instruments.  Some of the pianos are not exactly 'square', but we are quite broad-minded about such details.


  Please keep an eye on this page for further details of the pianos as they become available, and visit Piano Auctions' own site

Lot 50 is a William Stodart grand from 1821, 6½ octaves, with the beautiful compensation frame.  These had brass tubes in the bass (over the brass strings) and iron over the iron strings.  Whether the elegant idea of differential expansion really worked or not is a moot point, but the logic is good, and in any case the frame makes the tuning much more stable than the average piano of its time.  The brass tubes are also very pretty.  These can be fine pianos.  Estimate £1,500 - £2.000.

Next we have a beautiful 6½-0ctave 'cabinet' upright, by John Broadwood and Sons. 


These pianos have the advantage of a closed frame (the 'back') which is resistant to twist and collapse - from an engineering point of view much bettter than a square or a grand.  There is also a good string-length in the bass.  The action is at the top, controlled by long 'stickers'.  These are not easy to adjust for good response, but we are learning more about them.  A fine looking piano, estimate £700 - £1,000.

  Then a handsome square (c. 1793) by Schoene & Co.  This firm were very keen to emphasize that they were successors to Johannes Zumpe, whose name occupies the centre of the name-cartouche.  This one has three pedals, including a lid-swell.  

  After 1788 some, but not all, Schoene pianos featured his double action.  This had no escapement, but the intermediate lever reversed the arcs of rotation, and gives an action which seems to be mores responsive, less prone to bounce, and easier to set up than the single action.  And of course, unlike the escapement action, the repetition is unbeatable.  

  The estimate for this one is £700 - £1000


Lot 55 is stunning - a beautiful lyre piano by F A Klein of Berlin, c.1830, with an unusual compass of DD - g4.  The action of these is at the bottom of the strings, which do not go down to the floor.  Please check your ceiling height before bidding!  


A rare and beautiful piano - estimate £2,500 - £4.500

A Georgian square carrying the name James Rigg, but showing characteristics (including the twin music-desks) that remind us of Rolfe.  Six octaves, pedal missing.


Estimate for this one just £200 - £400.

Another rare and beautiful piano - a 'giraffe' believed to be by a Viennese maker. Like their namesakes, they do need a tall enclosure.   Walnut case, five pedals.  Estimate £8,000 - £10,000.

A pretty late eighteenth-century square by  Bland & Weller.  Ann Bland was one of the very few ladies in the business, but despite earlier specualtion, it now seems that Weller was a gentleman.


Five octaves, Attractive trestle stand, two handstops, and evidence of a careful restoration.  From waht we can see, this looks like a very tidy piano.  Estimate £600 - £800.

Then we have a 5½-octave John Broadwood & Son grand piano from 1801.  Just think of the composers who were writing for the piano then, Haydn, Beethoven, and Clementi for a start.  Truly a piano from the Classical period.  No further details yet.


Estimate £4,000 - £6,000

Lot 61 is a single manual harpsichord, made from a Bexley kit.  No further details yet, but sounds interesting.


Estimate £500 - £700

A John Morley Clavichord c. 1982.  Always practical and well-made, this example is in a particularly handsome case, and complete with stand. 


Estimate £600 - £800

And finally, a big harpsichord by Dolmetsch, c. 1983.  The instruments of the 'revival' makers have not been fashionable for some years, but they are well made, and potentially offer a lot of harpsichord for your money.  And they are, of course, a vital link in the history of keyboard instruments.  Estimate £1,500 -  £2,000


 Gardiner Houlgate

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.

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© David Hackett