Dettmer c. 1806

George Dettmer was an important piano-maker in early nineteenth-century London, both under his own name and for other brands.  

This piano is an early example, and does present something of a puzzle, as it is the first and only example recorded with the Gresse Street Rathbone Place address.  Examination of the underside has revealed that it originally stood on a French frame, and that the current four turned legs are a later addition, probably as a fashion update the first half of the nineteenth century.  These were out-of-date by about 1807, but the style of the action and dampers suggest a date of not much before that - so I think we can be fairly confident about the estimate of 1806.  Even so, it is remarkable in having a full six-octave compass: these were not general until the 1820s.  

This one was restored by Andy and Robert Durand of the Music Room Workshop in 2007.  Since then it has been regularly played and remains in good condition.  Re-instatement of the French stand was considered at the time, but did not happen; the piano has been played standing on trestles for the convenience of the tall young player.  The four turned legs are a bit wobbly and would need some work to be secure, unless the French stand option is now taken up.  

The piano does have an authentic reproduction pedal, but this is not currently fitted.

It comes with a tuning-hammer, but the back-right fret is incomplete.

This piano is in Fulham, W London; the price is £900.  

 

Please contact Susan Ware     s.ware@ucl.ac.uk

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© David Hackett