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Grand pianoforte

Grand piano by Erard; tulipwood-veneered case, lozenge patterned on the lid; corners and legs with mounted porcelain plaques painted with floral borders. Sides with nine Berlin porcelain plaques after Old Master paintings, mounted in gilt bronze. Commencing at the treble side of the piano the plaques are: 'St Cecilia' after carlo Dolce; 'St Sextus the Pope' after Raphael; 'Il Violinista' after Raphael; 'Madonna and Child' after Raphael; 'Magdalen reading' after Coreggio; 'Madonna' from 'Assumption of the Virgin' by Titian; 'Albrecht Dürer' from a self-portrait; 'St Barbara' after Raphael; 'Magdalen reading' after Guido. This piano was exhibited in Erard's Paris exhibition of 1849 and features (with an illustration) in the accompanying catalogue (no.14), which states that Prince Albert actually designed the case himself. In which case, he may also have designed the six accompanying cabinets made for the same room as this piano at Osborne House. Erard was founded by Sébastien Erard (1752-1831). Trained in Strasbourg, Erard moved to Paris in 1768 and began making pianos for the French nobility. He was later joined by his brother Jean-Baptiste Erard (1749-1826) and the business grew, especially after Royal commissions from Marie-Antoinette, but suffered during the French Revolution. The family opened a London outlet in 1790/1, which concentrated on the production of harps. Sébastien is famous for making a great number of technical improvements and inventions and took out between fifteen adn twenty patents in England alone. After the death of Sébastien Erard, Jean Baptiste's son Pierre (1794-1855) took over the busines in Paris and London, winning a gold medal at the 1824 Paris Exposition and later becoming piano maker to Albert, Prince Consort. Many illustrious pianists played Erard instruments, including Liszt and Mendelssohn.

  • Date:
  • Maker:
    Erard [Corporation]
    Royal Berlin Porcelain Manufactory
    Peetz, H.G.
  • Collection:
    Royal Collection Trust
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  • Materials:tulipwood, porcelain, gilt bronze; veneered, painted, cast
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  • Repository:Royal Collection Trust
  • Measurements:97.7 x 143.0 x 247.0 cm (whole object)