James Ball c. 1830

James Ball, despite his name, was one of the first generation of immigrants from Germany in the eighteenth century, although  he probably arrived a bit later than the others - we first hear of him in 1780.  The nameboard of this piano carries the words 'Maker to His Majesty' - a claim which appeared about 1827.  The last record of James Ball at Duke Street is 1834, and the style of this piano is as we would expect for somewhere between these two dates.

Inside, we see a gold-painted string-plate and reinforcing bar.  We see that this piano, like contemporary Broadwoods, has a divided bridge to give a more equal tension at the transition from brass to steel strings.

Good to see that the pedal is present!

The strings have been removed as the first step towards restoration, and one wrestpin is missing, but otherwise we believe that nearly all the bits are there.  There is quite a lot of work to do, but this could be a fine piano by an important maker.


The piano is in North West London; the price is just £100


Please contact Peter,  cppeecock@gmail.com


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© David Hackett