Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Square Piano

Maker:
Thomas Western
Date:
before 1794
Geography:
London, England, United Kingdom
Culture:
British
Medium:
Mahogany, mahogany veneer, iron, brass, ivory, ebony, various materials.
Dimensions:
Case length (perpendicular to keyboard) 53.8 cm, Width (parallel to keyboard) 157.5 cm, Case depth without lid (including integral table) 21.9 cm, Total height 81.5 cm, 3-octave span 48.4 cm, String length: longest 140.0 cm shortest 10.8 cm c2 48.4 cm
Classification:
Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
89.4.1855
Not on view
Thomas Western moved to New York city early in 1794, moved to Charleston, South Carolina in 1805, and later to Alexandria, Virginia. This instrument bears a label from when he built pianos in London and may have been brought with him when he moved to the United States. The rectangular case is made of mahogany and had mahogany veneer. The four reeded legs with casters were later additions to the piano. There are 61 keys (FF-f3) with ivory naturals and blackened hardwood slips on softwood accidentals. There are two handstops, one in the well to the left of the keyboard that when activated raises the overdampers, and a second handstop mounted vertically to the right that activates a cloth mute. English single action without escapement.
Marking: 1) (in oval inlay in nameboard) Thomas Western Maker near/ Westminster Bridge, London;
2) (stamped on rear of nameboard) Niebuhr;
3) (written on rear of nameboard) (a duplicate of the maker's inscription)
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown ; Winslow Brewster Standish
Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 320.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, pg. 94.

Catalogue of Keyboard Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1903, pg. 153, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. Catalogue., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, vol. 13, pg. 94.



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