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Broadwood & Sons Square Piano (1796)

About the Broadwood & Sons Square Piano (1796)

Built in 1796 by the leading London firm of John Broadwood & Son, this five-and-one-half-octave piano bears labels giving maintenance instructions in English and French. Many pianos like this were exported to France after the Revolution, as well as to America where possession of a fashionable Broadwood signified one's elevated status and good taste. Broadwood was responsible for important innovations including the damper mechanism incorporated here, probably the subject of the patent claimed in the nameboard inscription. Though no damper pedal was provided, a pedal (now missing) lifted the small lid flap over the front of the soundboard, allowing some dynamic control after a note or chord was struck. This piano is said to have belonged to the Hon. Edmund Livingston of New York, who bought it in 1799 from John Jacob Astor, then an instrument importer. The piano has been much restored, and the iron hitchpin plate inside is not original.

Image of the Broadwood and Sons Piano

Broadwood & Sons Square Piano (1796)