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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.
1808 Kirckman square piano

1808 Joseph Kirckman square piano

1808 Kirckman square piano

The firm of Kirckman is best known for fine 18th century harpsichords but this square piano was made by Joseph Kirckman  who took over the business from his father, Abraham Kirckman in 1794.  It was made a year before the last harpsichord was produced in his workshop.  The nameboard inscription reads:   “Joseph Kirckman,  Maker to her Majesty,  London, 1808”.  It is a well-made instrument in a mahogany case.   The spine (back) of the piano is also in mahogany with line inlay.  It was probably intended for the  instrument to be positioned away from the wall so that the pianist could face other musicians.   It was one of the first square pianos to have six slender turned legs replacing the French frame stand.   It uses William Southwell’s  patent for “Irish” dampers and also the design for accommodating the additional keys from 5 to 5 ½ octaves  under the soundboard.  These patents were subject to legal wrangles until just prior to 1808.    Square pianos by Kirckman are fairly rare and were probably more expensive than the average square piano.

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