Square "Work Box" Piano

Retailer S. Hart & Son American

Not on view

When shut, this sewing and dressing case gives no hint of enclosing a miniature 4-octave piano. It was imported and sold in Philadelphia by Sarah Hart & Son, dealers in portable furniture, stationery, and perfume. The rosewood case, standing on a carved acanthus pedestal over a footed base, bears on its lid an inlaid eagle over a musical trophy, surrounded by a wreath of oak and laurel. A hinged looking-glass can prop up the lid. Small compartments and spools of thread occupy a removable tray over the strings.

Technical description: Rectangular rosewood veneer case on single turned, acanthus-carved pedestal over 4-footed base; lid crossbanded and inlaid with American eagle over group of instruments and music, surrounded by wreath of oak and laurel, with foliate inlay at corners; lid interior holds hinged mirror flanked by light wood panels inlaid with 8-point stars, over strings, a rectangular tray with lidded compartments and spools of thread; soundboard extends over key levers; unpierced tuning pins run across front; front flap hinges downward; recessed brass handles at case sides; bridge backpinned throughout; 2 ivory buttons (1 missing) flank keyboard; compass f-f4 (49 keys), ivory naturals, plain wood fronts, dark-stained accidental blocks; German action with escapement, brass kapsels; no dampers; single strung to f3, double-strung from f#3, none wound. (L. Libin 5 Oct. 76).

Square "Work Box" Piano, S. Hart & Son (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1828–1840), Various materials, Austrian or German

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