Grand Piano

Maker: Ferdinand Hofmann (Austrian, 1756–1829 Vienna)

Date: ca. 1790

Geography: Vienna, Austria

Culture: Austrian

Medium: Cherry wood, brass, enamel, ebony, bone

Dimensions: Width: 37 1/2 in. (95.3 cm)
Depth: 82 7/8 in. (210.5 cm)

Classification: Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano

Credit Line: Gift of Geraldine C. Herzfeld, in memory of her husband, Monroe Eliot Hemmerdinger, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.34


This beautifully preserved cherry-wood piano, which retains the maker's fragile wax seal on a label inside, was built by Ferdinand Hofmann, a leading member of Vienna's civic keyboard-maker's association. He became its president in 1806 and won a court appointment. The striking, almost architectural decor of this instrument typifies the maker's early work. Knee levers lift the dampers and a knob over the nameplate operates a mute, or moderator. The instrument has a five-octave range (sixty-one notes) and is double-strung in the bass and middle registers and triple-strung in the treble. The piano is of the type that was customary in Mozart’s day.