Dunmo, Ellis & Hill piano

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ilaria.fico
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Dunmo, Ellis & Hill piano

Post by ilaria.fico » 05 Feb 2015, 11:24

Hi! My name is Ilaria and I'm an italian student of Padua University. I'm studying Music and Performing Arts and I can play the piano so I'm very interested on the stories of particular pianos. Now, I'm refining my ethnomusicological studies, so I'm looking for some interesting research. In fact, my cousin received a new piano for Christmas. Her parents asked me to find some information about it and to test its quality, because of my studies. So, I've found this brand on the lid of the piano: DUNMO ELLIS & HILL PIANO, and a target: T. RATCLIFFE & SON, SANDES AVENUE, KENDAL. Now, can someone tell me something about this brand and this target, please? Because I want to put together the story of this piano. In fact, I know that Kendal is a Scottish district, but this piano, now, has found its place in a little country, called Palagiano (Taranto, Puglia, Italy)! So, I would like to know how this piano is arrived in a place so far away from Scotland and I hope you can help me! Thank you so much for your attention!

P.S.: sorry for my not so correct English!


Ilaria

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Bill Kibby
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Feb 2015, 12:53

Your English is better than some English people's, but I don't know what you mean by "target". This will be a Dunmo, Ellis & Hill piano, made in London, sold by Ratcliffe & Son in Scotland.

Dunmo, Ellis & Hill appear in our London lists between the 1890s and the 1920s.

British pianos have been exported all over the world, so it is not surprising that you have one in Italy. No archive material survives to allow us to look up the individual piano, as explained at
http://www.pianohistory.info/archives.html

If you want to search inside the piano for clues to verify its age, have a look at
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html

Otherwise, there is some general information at
http://www.pianohistory.info/edwardian.html

In 1911, Tom Ratcliffe was in business on his own at Sandes Avenue, so "& son" suggests a later date. I will look for more details.

I might be able to tell you more if you could post photos of the whole piano here, or email them to me to post.
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Feb 2015, 13:37

Ratcliffe & Son is a bit of a puzzle, but Tom Ratcliffe appeared in the early 1900s, and T. Ratcliffe was still at Sandes Avenue in 1938 as an instrument dealer. He was gone by 1951.

My guess is that T. was Tom's son, and continued after Tom died.
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by ilaria.fico » 05 Feb 2015, 15:22

Thank you so much for your help! First of all I'm sorry, I made a mistake: I mean plate with "target", a sort of another brand, I think. I made researches by myself and I thought that "T. Ratcliffe" could be the owner, who ordered and received the piano, but not the dealer! In fact, I've found a Reverend Thomas Ratcliffe, who lived in the same period in which the piano was made, and I've discovered that he loved music and he was a beginner player! There are also discussions with his friends in the National Archive about an organ, and he wrote these letters in Sandes Avenue, Kendal! so I thought that he could be the main character of this story! So, don't you think this can be possible?
Anyway, I share two piano's pictures, so you could tell me something more!
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IMG-20141201-WA0001.jpg
IMG-20141201-WA0000.jpg

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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Feb 2015, 16:06

Although Tom is a very common name, and Ratcliffe is not unusual, there's no reason it couldn't be the same person, or another Tom in the same family. Certainly, the transfer with the firm's name on it is a dealer, that wouldn't be done by a private individual.

The piano appears to be a typical Edwardian one, as described at
http://www.pianohistory.info/edwardian.html

If you want to search inside the piano for clues to verify its age, have a look at
http://www.pianohistory.info/datemarks.html

It appears that the piano has been repolished, and almost lost its original name, so we can only guess whether Ratcliffe did this, and sold it secondhand.
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Feb 2015, 16:18

If you type the address into Google Earth, there is a church.
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by ilaria.fico » 05 Feb 2015, 16:54

Oh, yes, I understand. I have already noted the Church on Google Earth, so I was almost sure he was the owner! But sometimes our thoughts run faster than reality!
I think could be connections between Reverend Tom and Tom the dealer too, now. In my opinion, it's highly possible that they had a family relationship, because of our researches.
I really want to put together the story of this beautiful piano, so I hope to find something else! I could investigate the Ratcliffe family, the family tree, maybe this could help me trying to find its story!
Thank you so much, for now! Your help gave me more information to complete my study on it! Please, if you can help me with other informations of any kind about this piano, the Ratcliffe family and these "two Tom", don't hesitate to reply here or to contact me by email privately!

Thank you, again!

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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hills piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Feb 2015, 17:02

I would guess it was made around 1907, as described at
http://www.pianohistory.info/edwardian.html

but Ratcliffe may have sold it secondhand at a later date.
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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hill piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by vernon » 05 Feb 2015, 20:56

nb
kendal is in the English Lake District so not quite up here in Scotland.
Our mission in life is to tune customers--not pianos.

Any fool can make a piano-- it needs a tuner to put the music in it

www.lochnesspianos.co.uk

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Re: Dunmo, Ellis & Hill piano - Scotland to Italy! How?

Post by Bill Kibby » 06 Feb 2015, 00:43

Of course you are right Vernon, I was so focussed on the peeanna I forgot that Kendal is in that beautiful mountainous region oddly named after its flat, wet bits.

Of course, the danger now on this forum is that when you are right, someone will accuse you of being pompous.
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