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Graham WalkerThis is the website of Graham Walker, Dorset, UK who has had an interest in the early piano for over 30 years. He has undertaken the restoration of instruments for private collection and has also carried out research on early pianos and their makers over this period. This has been done alongside a career in management consultancy and performance management. Early retirement in 2007 enabled him to become more involved and he commissioned a cloth manufacturer to produce an authentic keyboard cloth. This cloth is the nearest match to an early 19th century piano cloth that can be made within modern manufacturing processes. It was initially produced for his requirements but it soon came in demand by others.  Further types of cloth have been replicated by request from makers and restorers.  These cloths can be purchased from the online shop on this website.  He has also undertaken some research into the leather used in early English pianos and is currently working in liaison with the Institute of Creative Leather Technology, Northampton University, UK with the objective of determining specifications. He is involved in supporting interest in the early piano and is passionate about ensuring that our heritage of early pianos collections in the UK can be maintained for the future.

Welcome to this website that gives a wealth of information mainly about early English pianos and their makers but also covers other early pianos. The online store on this website where authentic early keyboard cloths could be purchased closed on 14th September 2021 but these cloths are now available from Lucy Coad, Square Piano Conservation and Repair, Hill Farm, Greenway Lane, Cold Ashton, Chippenham, SN14 8LA, UK.

The “STORE” tab at the top of this page will re-direct to this website.  I would like to thank my customers for their business and I am pleased that the supply of these cloths will be continued by Lucy Coad.

Please enjoy your visit and come back soon.  You are welcome to get in touch if you would like any further advice. You may have an early piano that you would like to know more about or offer one for sale on this website. 

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About our early keyboard cloths

Our Early Keyboard Cloths are now recognised as the most appropriate replacement in period keyboard instruments not only for early pianos but for many other instruments such as harpsichords, spinets, clavichords and fortepianos. They are used by makers, restorers, and museum curators in the UK, and many other countries. They are available in larger quantities…

Eleanor Chinnery’s square piano inscribed Melly

(Made in Dublin between c1792 and c1794) Little is known about Melly to the extent that even his first name alludes us.  He describes himself as a harpsichord and pianoforte maker at 40 Fleet Street Dublin.1   On the nameboard is written “Melly” without any further inscription and the only other known surviving piano by him…

The new early keyboards cloths in use – Examples and guidance

Early 19th century square and grand pianos typically use a keyboard cloth that is about 1.5mm thick applying two thicknesses to the back-touch and front rail of the keyframe and one thickness to the balance rail.  One or two thicknesses of cloth are used on the hammer rail. The two images above show a keyframe…

William Southwell – The prolific inventor

This paper covers William Southwell’s manufacturing activities in Dublin during the late 18th century and brings into context the progression of instruments he designed and made. He was one of the most prolific inventors of the early piano and made some important contributions to the development of the instrument. Many of his inventions proved successful…

The English Tangent Action Square Piano

A piano with a tangent action is fundamentally different to all other pianos.  It uses a hammer that is detached from the action, known as a tangent. It is raised vertically to the strings by an action lever whereas all other pianos have a hammer that is pivoted on a hammer rail and is raised…

Advice about buying a Square Piano

Updated August 2019 Introduction This article provides a background to the recent interest in square pianos, comments on their musical capabilities and provides guidance on buying an instrument. Rise to respectability Many Georgian and Victorian square pianos have survived but until recently they have not been considered serious musical instruments. Most of them have been…

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