On this page you will find pictures and information about the various square pianos in the collection. Click on each picture to see more photographs of that instrument.
This instrument is a square piano which was made in Dublin by William Southwell and dated in ink on the bottom key “1794 May 8th”. Apart from this date and one other indistinct script written in pencil on the back of the nameboard there are no other markings on the instrument. Although the condition is pretty distressed, it is untouched and has had no previous restorations. It is a five octave instrument with dolly dampers or “southwell” dampers as they are also known because he is credited with their invention. These are the forerunners of the dampers used on modern grand pianos. These dampers are captive, meaning that they are screwed directly into a block hinged by leather to the back of each key. In order to extract a key the corresponding damper must be removed. There is no sustain but a beautifully made buff/harp stop behind the dampers and evidence of a venetian swell exists over the soundboard. These were both operated by knee levers similar to those found on Vienese forte-pianos of the time. Sadly the corresponding lever and the venetion swell were removed at some time. It is currently awaiting restoration.
This square piano is by Longman & Broderip and from the numbers can be dated to 1797. It is a five and a half octave instrument and has southwell dampers instead of the leaver dampers which were far more common at this time. It has a particularly fine early painted nameboard. Although it is obvious that there has been some attempt at restoration in the past, this was mild and not very intrusive and so the piano is currently awaiting restoration.
This is a square piano by Clementi & Co dating from 1832, just before the company changed over to Collard & Collard (late Clementi) on their instruments. It is thought to be the latest known square to bear the Clementi & Co name. It is a fairly standard late C&co instrument with the square damper heads more common on Collard & Collard instruments but has some nice carving to the legs and a pedal lyre with one sustain pedal. It is awaiting restoration and has some quite bad splits to the lid which have had bracing put in but these should be repairable. Either way, these make lovely instruments when restored.
This is a Clementi square piano of C.1808 and is awaiting restoration. It is typical of Clementi squares of the period with a captive damper system, five and a half octave compass etc. The case is rather attractive with a typical Clementi pattern inlaid band and spiral turned legs. It also has a well preserved name cartouche with the name in gold on a black ground surounded by a string of painted pearls. It’s matching pedal leg has survived intact. It’s inked number of 7321 is located on the rear of the wrestplank with it’s stamped number of 6422 beside the keywell.
This square piano was made by the company of Muir, Wood & Co of Edinburgh in c.1805. The similarities to Broadwoods of the period is a theme that seems to run throughout their existance and theories as to why are many. Some say that the workers at M,W &Co came from the Broadwood factory, some say they were just copying Broadwood pianos directly, and another theory is that they were actually made by Broadwood and sold on to M,W & Co to be sold under their name. It is probable that we will never know but the workmanship and construction is certainly consistant with Broadwood. The only major difference in construction being that the case left of the keywell, which on a broadwood is hollow and contains a cubby hole for storing spare strings and tuning hammers, is solid. This gives the case a structural integrity that some Broadwoods don’t have. I have seen structural failures on Broadwood squares because of the weakness caused by not having a solid block of wood there joining the side to the base boards. Like a Broadwood it has brass “Peacock” under-dampers which, once set up properly, are most effective and lend a distinct sound to the instrument. This is cause by a plucking sound similar to a harpsichord. although at the end of the note rather than the begining. Unusually, this particular instrument has a sustain mechanisim. These tend not to be fitted to the broadwood versions, and where they were, they usually have long been removed, primarily as they are hard to set up and regulate. You need to start where the tail of the damper rests on the lifting rail and adjust everything back from that. This particular piano is currenty undergoing a full restoration.
This Musio Clementi & Company square piano is a rare survivor but will need extensive restoration to bring it back to playing condition. Current thoughts are that it dates to about 1798 and was actually made for Longman & Broderip but then finished, and rebadged by Clementi when he took over their business following their bankruptcy thus making it possibly one of the earliest Clementi square pianos. This is further supported by the similarity to the 1794 William Southwell of Dublin, in the collection, which shares not only very similar proportions but also the same curved hammer rail and has a buff stop fitting, the mortice for which, can be seen in the left hand side of the case. As there is no other evidence for the buff stop on the piano, it seems certain that the direction of construction changed mid way through. The idea that Southwell, who was associated with Longman & Broderip at this time, may have had a hand in it’s design, if not directly consructed it, is further support for the earlier date. It is a five and a half octave single action instrument with captive southwell dampers.
This Broadwood square piano of c. 1822 was a rescue and will need extensive restoration to bring it back to being a playing instrument. It will need replacement led threads. The soundboard may need to be removed for repairs, possibly the hitch rail capping replaced and dampers and hammers sorted and any missing ones remade. Once restored it will be a very attractive piano and Broadwood of this era can have a very sweet tone.
This Broadwood square piano of c. 1839 is of one of their more unusual models, with a key cover similar to a grand piano rather than the more usual type attached to the underside of the lid. Some of it’s more notable features are the handsome carved mahogany legs, and the inset fretwork panels in the top. Once restored this will be a fine instrument with the more powerful sound of the later English squares.
This square piano by Joshua Done is dated 1795 and is awaiting restoration. It is a five octave instrument with lever dampers but, despite the grove for it, no sustain levers appear to have ever been fitted. It features an especially nicely inlaid name board. The soundboard will need to be removed as it is badly split and distorted and there is a separation from the base boards on the left hand side.
This square piano, c.792 is atributed to John Geib as, although badged as a George Astor & Co instrument, it is identical to a Longman and Broderip of a similar date. It is in very good untouched original condition and will only need light restoration to bring it back into full playing condition.
This is a rare square piano by Leukfeld, c.1806 in an untouched original state. Leukfeld was based at 27 Tottenham street, London, and ceased production in 1811. It features an inlaid greek key pattern in place of the more conventional fretwork sound vents of the time and has large radious curved front corners, Unusual at this date but much more common 40 or so years later. It stands on six original legs.
This is a John Broadwood square piano dated to 1805 and is awaiting restoration. It is a 5 1/2 octave instrument with southwell dampers. The case, & what remains of the french stand, are mahogany crossbanded in fiddleback sycamore with ebonised & plain holly inlay. The stand has been “updated” with turned legs & it has been through an appalling restoration which has destroyed the hitch rail, warped & split the soundboard, warped the bridge & had modern pins fitted.
This Thomas Tompkison square piano C.1805 is awaiting restoration. It has a 5 1/2 octave keyboard, a single action and Southwell dampers.
This Thomas Tompkison square piano, C. 1800 is awaiting restoration. Externally it is a typical 5 1/2 octave piano of the period. But one of it’s more unique features are lever dampers which are removable at will. Unlike the more usual type which are hinged to the spine, these have a slot in the back which allow them to slide on a pin, and rather than use baleen springs, use the weight of the attached lifting rod to keep them pressed down.
This Muir & Wood square piano, C.1815 is awaiting restoration. It is a fine Regency example with brass mounts, brass inlay and reeded legs. One item of note is that the legs do not screw into the drawer carcass below the piano as is usual, but rather, the legs continue up through holes in the corner blocks and then screw into the base boards of the piano itself.
This Collard & Collard square is a very interesting late model. Having the serial number of 98173 puts it’s date at c. 1873, a full seven years after it was thought the last English square piano left the factory. It is a suitably advanced instrument with a full seven octave keyboard and over strung base strings. These strings have a speaking length of almost six and a half feet, similar to a grand piano of the same period. It also utilizes a twin damper system in the base.
This Stodart square of c.1810 is also awaiting restoration. The case is of mahogany crossbanded in rosewood. This is an early model to feature drawers underneath and it also has brass mounts. The wooden knobs on the drawer fronts are not original and were presumably added when it was last restored. That restoration was done using inappropriate materials will require reversing before the full amount of work involved in it’s restoration can be assessed.
This John Longman square piano of c. 1803 is awaiting restoration. It sits on a french stand with music shelf, has a 5 ½ octave keyboard, Southwell dampers and a painted name board featuring the ever popular “sweet pea” design. It was poorly restored in 1968 using inappropriate materials. The soundboard has been partially replaced, the wrest plank capping and corner fret. High string tension has pulled the hitch rail away from the spine bringing the left side with it.
This c.1790 Longman & Broderip square piano is awaiting restoration. It is a single action instrument with lever dampers which were dismantled by the previous owner. It has three hand stops. Two for a split sustain and one for a lute stop.
This Broadwood square piano is one of the late Regency “fancy” models from c.1818. It is currently undergoing restoration which has included repacing the capping of the hitch rail and fitting new hitch pins.
The restoration of this 1808 Broadwood square piano was finished in early 2012. It has a five and a half octave compass and uses over dampers. The case is mahogany, both solid and veneer, cross-
This piano is a 1795 square by Broadwood. It has a five octave compass and was restored in 2011. When it came into the collection it was in remarkably original condition apart from a missing stand which had been replaced by what can only be assumed was once a mid 19th century washstand. The stand it now sits on is not the original but is a faithful reproduction made in Cuban mahogany. As with all the Broadwood squares from this time, it has brass under dampers, a very efficient system and which gives a distinctive and pleasant “buzz” as they engage. These were seized with two centuries of grime. It had an almost complete set of original strings which could not be saved as they started to fail as soon as any tension was aplied. These were measured for future reference and replaced with new iron and brass strings. The keys which were almost all badly warped were all steamed straight again. All the cloths on the piano were carefully washed and the replaced on the instrument. It has a very light but sure action and is a joy to play. The tuning is remarkably stable, the action reliable, and has been used in concert.