A Rare John Broadwood & Sons Amboyna and Giltwood Grand Piano, circa 1845
Nameplate engraved: JOHN BROADWOOD & SONS LONDON
Serial number: 16336
38-1/2 x 98-1/2 x 58 inches (97.8 x 250.2 x 147.3 cm)
PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED DALLAS ESTATE
The grand piano case veneered with amboyna, with extensive applied carved gilt wood ornaments on all sides and three double scrolled carved gilt wood legs crowned with winged spiral, above the keyboard a cartouche inscribed JOHN BROADWOOD & SONS, London, the keyboard ranging from CC to g4 with ivory naturals and ebony accidentals, iron braces, two foot pedals.
In a letter to the current owner dated 26th January 2017, the records kept by John Broadwood & Sons, Ltd. reveal that this piano bearing the serial number 16336 "was manufactured at our Horseferry Road workshops, Westminster, London, and completed on the 24th day of February in the year 1845. Our records describe your piano as a grand pianoforte pat repetition amboyna wood elegant with carved and gilt ornaments, retail price Â£ 262 and 10 shillings."
"The instrument was first despatched from our premises on Monday 8th September 1845. It had been sold to a certain J.H. Gurney of Norwich, county Norfolk. The piano was taken by our porter Mr. Wren to St. Catherine's Steam Wharf, port of London on the river Thames, where it was loaded onto the steam chip called Ailsa Craig for delivery by sea to Norwich. For the duration of the journey, [the] piano was placed in a specially made wooden packing case. In addition to the piano, we also supplied Mr. Gurney with a matching stool and a canterbury in the same shipment."
The letter goes on to describe " the Gurney family of Norwich....were very famous in their day as bankers (forerunners of Barclay's Bank), as Quaker philanthropists, and as ornithologists. As you will see from the details provided about John Henry Gurney (1819-1890) who appears to have been the original purchaser of [the] piano, he was also a Member of Parliament for Kings Lynn in 1854, 1857 and 1859, as a member of the Liberal Party. The Gurneys were extremely wealthy, which explains how they were able to afford a highly expensive and lavishly decorative piano..."
According to the Broadwood records, the piano was received Friday 17th March 1854 and Saturday 28th July 1888 for repairs. From 1988 until the date of this inquiry the letter states that the "piano disappears from our records."
Top board with warping and apparently age-related crack, some flaking to gesso, scattered losses to decorative elements, piano keys wtih age-related cracks and toning, pedal mechanisms missing, few scattered flake to veneer, other scattered age-related cracks, with wear commensurate with age and use. Heritage does not guarantee the completeness or working order of pianos and encourages in-person inspection of this lot.