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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.

Do you own a Christopher Ganer square Piano?

Many square pianos made by Christopher Ganer between 1775 and 1808 have survived but very little is known about his life and work.  Research is being undertaken to find out more about him and give a greater insight into the design and production of his instruments. If you have a Christopher Ganer square piano, you may be able to help.  Some information about Christopher Ganer was written and published on this website in 2013

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1781 Christopher Ganer square piano

An example of a Christopher Ganer square piano dated 1781

Since 2013, a register of extant instruments has been prepared that currently stands at over 80. The purpose of the register is to provide data for analysis of:

  • the technical and aesthetic design of his instruments and to show how these progressed between 1775 and 1808,
  • the dating of instruments made after 1785, (Instruments made prior to 1785 were usually dated within the nameboard inscription)
  • the annual production  of instruments made as indicated by the number of surviving examples.

Information about your square piano would contribute to the analysis and would be appreciated.  The greater the sample of instruments, the more potential there is to draw accurate and meaningful conclusions.

The useful information about your piano would include:

  • images of the outside and inside of the instrument,
  • the inscription on the nameboard,
  • the size of the piano including the length, width and height of the case (excluding the lid and stand),
  • any provenance or other information if known.

If you can only provide images, this would still be very useful.  We will reply to your email and may be able to let you know more about you piano.  The information you provide will be held in confidence and only be used for analysis.  It will not be published.

If you can provide information about your piano please email Graham Walker,

About Christopher Ganer and his instruments

Although Christopher Ganer was not at the forefront of piano development and his square pianos followed the same basic design throughout the production period, they show some progression in constructional detail.  He became a leading and respected maker particularly during the 1780’s and early 1790’s and he may have made more square pianos during this period than any other London maker.   In later years the number of instruments appears to have decreased and it may have been that the market switched to the innovative technologies of John Broadwood (1783 patent) and Longman & Broderip (Geib patent of 1786).   Records of his marriage to Lidia Willey in 1774 and the names and birth dates of his children (all daughters) are known.   Christopher Ganer’s birth is given as 1750 and death in 1811 but there is evidence to show that is lived to at least 1813.

It is hoped that these and many other questions can be answered about Christopher Ganer.

Graham Walker

July 2018

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