I have bits and pieces of references to various members of the Wicking family being in the piano trade, including Benjamin, William, (who was probably his son) and William's widow. It will take some time to edit and digest it all and decide what connection (if any) these have with Sarah. Does her name appear on the piano?
Is there any other information on the piano, apart from these addresses? Above all, what stuns the novice is the incredible standard of decorative work that was normal and everyday for the piano trade a century ago. Inlaid work, marquetry, or even the cheaper incised decorations can be quite impressive until you have seen hundreds of them, so although you describe it as "ornate", to me it is just an ordinary Edwardian or late Victorian upright, apart from the glass fall. My guess is around 1902. See
If you want to look inside it for clues, have a look at
The details of the patent are available online to anyone who wants to pay.
To me, it doesn't seem different enough to be an exhibition piece.
We had what was certainly just an 'ordinary' Edwardian upright piano at home - with sconces but no additional ornamentation.
The piano as shown by the OP appears to have mother of pearl inlaid top panel, which although not unusual in itself, I would certainly describe as 'ornate' as opposed to plain or 'ordinary'.
Just for info, a quick search on the name of the piano appears to imply that a paperback was published in 1893 with the title 'Improvements In Pianos & Other Keyboard Musical Instruments' - the authors given as Nightingale David William (76 Peckham Rye) & Sarah Garth Wicking (190 Walworth Rd Surrey). Are you familiar with this, or would this be some reference to patent archives.
Decorative work such as marquetry and inlaid work is impressive to people who have never seen it before, but when you've seen hundreds of them, they are less impressive. Yes, this is a good example of marquetry, but it's only a centre panel, which were turned out in vast quantities then. Exhibition pieces were often more elaborate, much more ornate over a much larger area.
I haven't come across D.W.Nightingale anywhere so far.
It is widely agreed that daylight is the best way of keeping ivory white, and the originals would probably have been bleached by exposure to sunlight. This invention provided the ideal compromise between letting the light get to the ivory, but not letting the dust in.
Unfortunately, exposing pianos to direct sunlight has disastrous consequences, as explained at
- Colin Nicholson
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I certainly agree with you there NewAge. Except for the (perhaps) strange looking 'museum purpose' fallboard and Perspex key rail, the piano looks very ornate indeed to me also. I think we need to remember & acknowledge that although some people on this forum are experts in this field.... and "worn the T-shirt" .... afterall, this is a general piano forum for all to enquire, see other posts - and we don't often see nice looking pianos like this. This may also give a new member the impression that one is much "higher ranked" or pompous in the piano industry? ...... certainly by just saying "ordinary" sends out unnecessary signals.... even if we have seen it all (yes, I've tuned gold-leaf cherubs hanging from a Steinway model B with pastorale scenery inlaid.... but no need to mention it here!!). Just my opinion.... and certainly not the "run of the mill" piano we get on this forum.NewAge wrote:Bill, I was a little surprised to see you describe this piano as, "just an ordinary Edwardian or late Victorian upright, apart from the glass fall."
In an email sent to us d.honey told us:
According to a conversation I remember having with my late mother indicated
that only three of this type of piano were ever made. She also mentioned
the fact that one of the three were displayed at an exhibition probably at
Brighton Pavilion. Two of the piano's went to members of the family, and
one went to an unknown person living in Bath when Sarah Garth Wicking died
in 1925. You may well have the very last piano linked to the two patents.
You seem to have the No 2811 dated 1893, the other which is far less
interesting is No 24,538 also dated 1893. I also have no idea who David
Nightingale was . However, I was told by the patents office that there are
numerous patents taken out by Sarah at around the same period relating to
various inventions. I suspect that Sarah being a very prudent business
woman bought other people's inventions and then registered them in the hope
of making a profit.
Need to look into how my mother-in-law inherited the piano - just know it was from an aunt.