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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.


This Directory gives useful information about piano makers, merchants, and people in allied trades who were involved in piano manufacturing and marketing in London between 1760 and 1800.  The maker’s name given on the piano nameboard during this period was not always that of the actual maker and many instruments gave the name of the retail merchant.   During the latter part of the 18th century the popularity of the piano grew rapidly and this gave significant business opportunities for those who could take advantage.  Varied business arrangements formed between piano makers, musical supply warehouses and people in allied trades whereby the name given on the nameboard was not of the actual maker.  Often it is possible to identify the actual maker by the design characteristics of the instrument.

There are three levels of information. The top level gives a list of names in alphabetical order.  From each name, there is a drop-down table of standard data (including birth and death dates, business activity, business names and addresses together with associated dates).  Where the piano maker’s or merchant’s business continued into the 19th century this information is also given but shown in italics.   More detailed information is available for some makers and merchants from a link in the table.  (This may include biographical, business management, piano design or details of surviving instruments). 

The scope of this directory is to include information about the people whose name has been given on the nameboard of pianos made in London during this period but it also includes the name of others who played an important role in the piano industry.

Any comments or additional information is welcome.

John Christopher ZUMPE

Photo of John Christopher ZUMPE

Business activity:    Harpsichord and Square piano maker (also made English guitars initially when he arrived in London)  Some of his square pianos were organised that combined the piano and organ

Trading as, employed by or contracted to:    John Zumpe c1761-1768,  Zumpe & Buntebart 1768-1778, Zumpe & Co. 1778-1783, possible business relationship with Meincke and Meyer

Business Address:    7 Princes Street Hanover Square, c1761-1780, Princes Street Cavendish Square, 1780-1783

Comments:   The earliest extant square pianos made by Zumpe are dated 1766.  It is believed that he may have started making these instruments in 1765 based on 19th century newspaper reports.  In 1783, Schoene & Co were the successors to Zumpe remaining at the same address in Cavendish Square

More information about John Zumpe

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