An auction held by Christie's in September 2013 offered many fine items, including a combined pianoforte and harpsichord by the remarkable inventor Joseph Merlin. The sale also included a much smaller 'travelling' piano which claimed connections to Merlin, by way of an inscription on the reverse of the nameboard. However, we were not convinced that this note was in Merlin's own hand, or even contemporary with the instrument.
The piano itself was a charming little 4½-octave instrument, which featured a retractable undercarriage (The space at the right had formerly been occupied by a drawer).
One curious detail was the fact that the unusually-shaped name cartouche was blank, and showed no evidence that there had ever been an inscription.
However, during restoration, when the keyboard and keyframe were removed, a punched name on the base clearly gave us the name 'C Trute'.
Charles Trute did not leave us many instruments, but those that survive are of high quality, and demonstrate variety and innovation. Piano historians have established that there was a link between Merlin and Trute, but the exact relationship is uncertain.
The charming little piano now offered for sale also lacks a name, but it does have some resemblance to the Trute. It shares the same short compass and compact case, but this one has a fixed undercarriage.
The name-cartouche is similar but not identical in shape, and also shows no trace of a name.
Internally it is conventional, with the standard English single action.
The lid has beautiful double cross-banding.
There are two handstops for damper-lift and buff, with the usual gilt-brass knobs.
This piano was recently restored by Andrew Lancaster.
The owner is reluctantly selling, due to competition for space! The price of this charming little piano is £2,950.
Please contact Godfrey Twitchen firstname.lastname@example.org