Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Upright Harp Piano

F. Beale & Co.
London, England, United Kingdom
Mahogany, paint, gilding, cast iron, paint, silk, ivory, ebony, glaze
Height: 77 3/16 in. (196 cm) Width (Parallel to keyboard, excluding handles): 53 9/16 in. (136.1 cm) Depth (perpendicular to keyboard): 29 5/16 in. (74.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Greenfield Sluder, 1944
Accession Number:
Not on view
The short-lived Euphonicon (from Greek, "sweet-toned") was patented by John Stewart in 1841 and manufactured under his supervision. Hand-painted designs and gilded brackets soften the industrial aspect of the solid iron frame. The Macassar ebony case encloses 3 soundboxes that replace a normal sound board. Tuning is by means of screw-threaded rods reached by a long wrench. The 82 double-strung notes are sounded by soft, felted hammers; the top 23 notes lack dampers and vibrate sympathetically. Damper and una corda pedals modify the tone. Decorated on all sides, the Euphonicon can be free-standing. Delicate scrollwork and carving belie its great weight. Similar harp-pianos (so called because of the exposed strings) were popular in America around 1860.
Marking: 1) (on front of harp): Steward's//Patent//Euphonicon
2) (above keyboard, on plaque): Steward's Patent//Euphonicon//F. Beale and Co./Lion & Unicorn/201 Regent St.//London
3) (on three stickers on back of sounding board): Euphonicon/invented by John Steward/Manufactured under his guidance by F. Beale & Co, 201 Regent St.//Anno 1843/No. _______
4) (on middle sticker): J. Steward
5) (marked on top lever key): FH
6) (handwritten on back of metal frame above middle tone chamber) Euphonicon/Invented by J. Steward Esq;and manufactured by/Beale & Steward/201 Regent Street./London
Mrs. Greenfield Sluder
Makers of the Piano, 1820-1860: Volume 2. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1999, pg. 24.

"Keyboard Instruments." Summer. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (1989), Vol. 47, No. 1, pg. 49, ill.

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

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