Broadwood 1820

We cannot quite make out the number of this one but it looks like 24840, which would put the date at 1820.  Just short of its 200th birthday!  The appearance and technical detail are entirely consistent with this date.

 

All six legs are complete with their gilt-brass collars, but the front inside-right leg does need some attention to its thread.  Good news is that the pedal is present.

"Makers to His Majesty and the Princesses".  This probably refers to George III - for some reason Queen Charlotte, although a competent musician was not included, even before her death in 1818.  We know that she did have favourite makers of her own. For a brief period after the coronation of George IV in 1820, the nameboards are supposed to have said "Their Majesties" (and numerous princesses of course) but I've never seen one.  And in any case, George hated Caroline, tried to divorce her, and excluded her from the coronation.  So perhaps "Their Majesties" was always unlikely.  Poor Caroline died in 1821, so it was back to "His Majesty".  It's all very confusing!  

This piano was restored by Morley and Co in 1938, the year before it was bought by the husband of the present owner.  She still has the bill for the repairs (£14, I believe - quite a lot of money in those days.)

It has not been played for many years now, and is surely due for a complete overhaul.  Remarkably, nearly all the notes still sound, in the right order, and as far as we can see all the hammers are present.  Again as far as we can see, the bridge and soundboard are good, so the refurbishment should be quite straightforward.  The strings do not look quite right (the bass strings should be open-covered) but they are possibly serviceable.

 

On a technical note, we observe the tuning-pins for the top few notes moved to the right of the piano to reduce crowding at the top of the wrestplank - this was just done for a couple of years c. 1820 - 22.  This one still has the single bridge -  a divided bridge was introduced soon after this time to give a longer scaling to the iron strings.  

The piano is in North London, on the ground floor.  The price is £250.  Please contact the owner , Jane de Sausmarez

janedesausmarez@gmail.com

 

10/18

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© David Hackett