Historically important square piano sold at auction

A rare and historically important square piano was sold at Sarl Vichy Auctions in France on 24th May 2014.

square piano 1This square piano Is was of small size with reverse keyboard having a compass of AA to f3 and using a primitive Prellmechanik action. It was probably made in Germany but is difficult to date exactly. It could have been made in the 1760’s but is is more likely to have been made a little later. The primitive prellmechanik action was fitted with over-dampers (now missing). Most of the hammers are broken although most are present.


square piano 2square piano 3square piano 4There is a detached oval retailers label inside the instrument, showing the name Jeune Genoyer in Marseille, that would date to about 1800. This could have been when the instrument was sold second-hand. It is unusual to find a German square piano in France as English instruments were preferred.

Interesting features to note are the floral painted soundboard, rococo scroll at the end of the hitch-rail.  Also, the moulded edge to the top of the case resembles that used on an instrument in the Gemeentemusum , Netherlands that has an unverified label referring to “Sibermann 1749”.