Art/ Collection/ Art Object


Alexandre Pere & Fils
Paris, France
Wood, metal, mastic, brass, tortoiseshell, gilt brass, mother-of-pearl, silver foil
Closed: 15 3/16 × 5 5/16 × 6 7/8 in. (38.5 × 13.5 × 17.5 cm)
Aerophone-Free Reed-concertina / accordion
Credit Line:
Funds from various donors, 1998
Accession Number:
Not on view
This instrument is profusely decorated with foliate designs in blue, green, pink and white enamel-like mastic with brass and tortoiseshell inlays. The twenty-four mother-of-pearl keys each operate two notes (one on push and a second on pull). The multifold bellows are lined with embossed silver foil bearing green flocking.

In the 1830s, Paris became a major center of accordion production, which flourished until the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. To compete with makers in Austria and Germany, Paris manufacturers successfully marketed their instruments by applying rich and costly decoration. This instrument follows a model by Demian of 1831, and is one of two surviving instrument of this type to have a second button row for the accidentals, it is therefore known as a "Paris accordions perfectionnes" or a "perfected" accordion. Only two such instruments are known to exist.
Marking: (Inscribed inside) "W. P. Coles"and "Charles P. Brown / from mother / 1858"and assembly numbers 501, 17, 55.
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