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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.

Ganer, Christopher

Piano maker, inlayer, music publisher and seller initially at 22 Broad Street moving to 47 Broad Street, Soho and also at 48 Broad Street from the early 1780’s. From 1779, Ganer made very elegant inlaid square pianos on a “French” frame stand as well as plain examples.

Although, the French frame stand was used as early as 1777 or 1778, Ganer may be considered as one of the first makers to produce highly elegant cross-banded and inlaid square pianos reflecting the neoclassical taste of the period. His skill as an inlayer gave him the opportunity to develop the plain case of the 1770’s instrument into an object of elegant beauty.  A fine example of his work, dated 1779, was at the Colt Clavier Collection, in Kent, UK. (sold at auction in June 2018) He made a square piano for Princess Amelia, daughter of George 111 in 1782.

I have not seen two Ganer square pianos that are identical in decoration and ornamentation.  Every instrument appears to be slightly different in treatment.  Some continuity existed in the nameboard decoration and the early instruments used a double garland of inlaid bell flowers with an Robert Adam style segmented  inlaid medallion in the cheeks of the keywell.  Instruments from about 1782 used a single garland of bell flowers but without decoration in the cheeks and an enamel oval plaque for the nameboard inscription was adopted from about 1790. His square pianos were dated up to 1785 with a Latin nameboard inscription.

His birth and death dates are given as c1750 and 1811 respectively but there is evidence that died after 1813. He was not a British citizen but came from Leipzig, Saxony to start making pianos in London.  He was granted, by Letters Patent of Denization, a form of British citizenship, in 1792 that gave him some rights including the right to own land and property. In the deed of grant he was referred to as “our well-beloved Christopher Ganer” and therefore he must have gained considerable respect.   In the late 1790’s his output of pianos declined and Ganer sub-let both 47 and 48 Broad Street houses from 1808.



Updated: 17 December 2013 (amended 12 July 2018)

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