Clementi 1823                                'Bridge of Reverberation'

This rare example is one of the finest of all Clementis.  The two pedals are the first clue to the 'Bridge of Reverberation' or 'Harmonic Swell' patented in 1818 by William Frederick Collard for Clementi & Co.  This was a third bridge, on the soundboard between the main bridge and the hitchpins, which enabled the lengths of the strings to the right of the main sounding part to vibrate in sympathy, and to enrich the tone.  The right-hand pedal operated a one-piece damper-bar to control the use of the feature.  

Restoration of the elaborate real gold name-cartouche would need be done by a specialist, but would be well worth doing.

The stamped number 14461 indicates its place in the sequence of square pianos.  The ink 18913 is the total of the pianos made by the firm, starting with the 5½-octave squares carrying the name  Longman & Broderip.  Obviously this must be higher, as it includes grands, uprights, and all other pianos.  With very rare exceptions the pianos are not dated, but Leif Sahlquist has reconstructed the sequence which enables us to date this one to 1822 or 1823.

The picture above shows the red damper-bar for the harmonic swell, and also the 'shade' with gold floral motifs. We also note the three music drawers and beautiful brasswork.

Internally the piano is in good condition, and the owner assures us that apart from being well out-of-tune, it is essentially fully playable, although it would undoubtedly benefit from same care and adjsutment.

It is in a mahogany and rosewood 'Late Regency' (actually George IV) style, with fine brass inlay on the corners and nameboard.


This splendid piano is in Norfolk, and is offered for sale at £1,995.  Please contact Martin Nix



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© David Hackett