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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Square Piano

John Broadwood & Sons
London, England
Mahogany veneer, boxwood, iron, brass, ivory, ebony, and various materials
Case length (perpendicular to keyboard): 57.3 cm (22 5/8 in.) Width (parallel to keyboard): 162.9 cm (64 1/8 in.) Depth (without lid): 22.0 cm (8 3/4 in.) Total height: 86.3 cm (34 in.) 3-octave span: 48.9 String length FF: 137.1 String length c4: 7.3 String length c2: 28.6
Credit Line:
Gift of Henry and Virginia Pleasants, 1982
Accession Number:
Not on view
Based on the design of Johannes Zumpe for a simple square piano design, this elegant instrument incorporates several innovations. An expanded compass of 5-1/2 octaves is possible by a design that has keys extend under the soundboard. Tuning pins have moved from the right side, where they were crowded and far from the lowest key to a convenient arrangement along the back. This piano has no damper control; the pedal opens the lid flap over the soundboard when the main lid panel is closed. Broadwood replaced hand stops by pedals around 1785. By the 1790s his firm was making about 400 squares and 100 grands annually.
Marking: 1) (inked on nameboard) John Broadwood and Son London 1797 Patent/Great Pulteney Street Golden Square
2) (in ink on pinblock) No 3817
3) (in ink on Key 58) W
Henry and Virginia Pleasants
"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 41, ill.

Keynotes: Two Centuries of Piano Design. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pg. 30, fig. 20.

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