Astor & Horwood c. 1818 - Sold

A beautiful Regency piano, from the time of Jane Austen.

Georg Peter Astor came to London from Hamburg in 1770 to live with an uncle who reportedly worked for Shudi & Broadwood.  Some time later, he encouraged his brother Johann Jakob to join him, and together they founded a woodwind-making business.  JJ and another brother went to America in 1783, where they established a piano and woodwind dealership.  Georg Astor remained in London as a dealer in woodwind and pianos; it is unlikely that the firm were actual makers of pianos.  Georg Astor died in 1813, and in 1815, a Mr Horwood took over the business from Astor's widow Elizabeth.  The firm was known as Astor & Horwood until in 1824 it became Gerock, Astor & Co., and then finally Gerock & Wolf.  The earliest recorded Astor & Horwood numbers are 4975 and possibly 414?, so this piano, number 5013, may tentatively be dated to about 1818.

The piano now being offered for sale is in very much better than usual condition, with the case, keyboard, nameboard and transfer looking good.

It was a handsome piano in its time, with elegant veneer cross-banding and ormolu brasswork.  It's good to see that the original green-painted inner-board (the 'passive soundboard') has survived - these are so often lost.  

It was professionally restored some time before 2000, and remains in good condition.  It is out-of-tune, but all the notes play reliably.

The materials and gauges of the strings look about right.



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© David Hackett