Broadwood piano

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stubbyeddy
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Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 31 Jan 2016, 20:11

Hello!

I'm looking for some advice and information on my Broadwood piano, after my partner passed away I sold my pianos as I didn't feel much like playing anyhow a friend pointed my in the direction of this one and I decided to purchase it as it was to beautiful to pass up the opportunity. The piano had quite a bit of restoration work done like having its action refurbished with new felts and hammers etc. so its in tip top playing condition and is lovely to play much better then any of the other pianos I have owned over the years, I'm just waiting for it to be tuned up again after its come out of storage and being moved into my home. From the serial number and the dates written inside I make it about 1887 it has as wooden frame with an iron bar above the top of the tuning pins and a large cast iron hitch pin block across all the strings, so perhaps just before cast iron frames were common? it also has a very pretty case with what I assume to be silk? painted panels which are behind glass which I think the glass has been added at some point to protect the painted silk? as you can see from the photos the paint on the panels has faded over time. Would it be detrimental to the piano if I was to have them re coloured? I know a very good artist who could repaint the colour back but wanted to make sure doing this would not devalue the piano. Having such an ornate case I was wondering if it was perhaps worth while asking broardwoods to do search on more information? not having seen to many broadwoods perhaps its not as unique as it might look. Anyhow any help information or advice would be much appreciated!

Eddy
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Bill Kibby
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 31 Jan 2016, 23:12

Thanks for the photos. It's probably not rare, but the decoration is unusual, at a time when cottage pianos were phased out in favour of the more familiar types of upright. Have a look at...

http://www.pianohistory.info/victorian.html

http://www.pianohistory.info/archives.html

Unrestored antique pianos have very little value here in Britain, so I wouldn't worry about devaluing. We can't judge from here how much work has been done, or whether it is going to hold in tune.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 01 Feb 2016, 00:51

Thanks for the fast reply I was thinking it was perhaps a kind of cross over from the cottage style to the upright type. I was hoping perhaps someone had seen something similar as like you said the decoration is unusual. its been totally restored including being restrung and holds tune very well to consort pitch. Thanks for your help I shall go ahead and have the artwork restored!

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 01 Feb 2016, 18:59

Yes, an attractive piano.... hope it stays in tune for a reasonable length of time.
If those canvass backgrounds (material) are original, my word, they look in incredible condition for their age.... I would have thought these may have been originally crimson silk screens on fret work, or some kind of carving / birds of paradise. cherubs etc on walnut panelling.... FRUIT! ?? that's a new one on me.

I suppose if you remove the front panel and expose the rear trim surround, if there are any old nail or screw holes (or bits of old material still adhered to it).... this may reveal further clues. I agree that the glass will have been added later, but not sure if Broadwood would have exposed a canvas painting to last for decades? .... I've seen many rotted away (i.e. Bechstein, arts & crafts). Looks very new :) .... but nice to see.

You mention this ....
"....with an iron bar above the top of the tuning pins"

It's difficult to see this properly on the photo, but I suspect it may just be a capping bar, to simulate a full iron frame or 3/4 frame with exposed wrest plank (which yours is neither). They are not usually connected/ welded to the lower frame, and look as though they add strength and stability to the wrest plank.... but in reality, they are mainly for decoration and only add weight to the piano. It was the earlier invention of the capping bar added to most 3/4 frames in the early 1900s.
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stubbyeddy
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 01 Feb 2016, 20:57

Hi Colin

Thanks for you reply, like you I was also suspicious about the fruit screens but on further investigation I have to admit I think they could very well be original, having had a very good close examination of the way they are fitted there is no evidence of old holes, nails or screws etc. or old fabric however the existing fabric is very fragile! you can't quite tell from the photos but there is some staining to them and as you can see they are very sun bleached this would all be within keeping of their age, I was kind of hoping to see some evidence that they were later or replacements so I could happily go about having them re coloured but alas I can find no evidence of them being replacements so perhaps they were glazed over to help further preserve them, which judging the overall condition and quality of the restoration would be what you might expect a good restorer to do to help preserve them? That being the case I should perhaps leave them be as a very well preserved piece of art. The restoration was done sometime in the mid 1990s from the dates written inside

You are also correct the iron bar is purely for decorative purposes as it in no way links to any other iron work om the frame.

Perhaps it is worth getting more information from broadwood, the name written inside on the white slip above the serial number (65811) is ( LW2 Buckley Williams ) im assuming the LW2 is perhaps a london address?

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 01 Feb 2016, 21:33

The link I gave you to the archives page may help with that. LW2 is not a London address.

I can't find any reference to Buckley Williams in my files yet. Is this name imprinted into the wood? This would suggest a senior worker at the factory.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 01 Feb 2016, 21:40

WP_20160130_00_06_26_Pro.jpg
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No its written on the paper label just next to the serial number that's pressed into the wood, I have seen this label in a few broardwoods.

hope the picture helps..

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 01 Feb 2016, 22:29

We think it says "Mrs Buckley Williams". The number is probably 1885.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 01 Feb 2016, 22:32

I have taken some photos of when i took the fabric panels out to clean the glass, from what I can see like I said before there is no evidence of there being anything else fitted before, also the serial number on the front is the same as written on the soundboard and throughout..

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 01 Feb 2016, 22:37

Yes I think it must be that, its the first "mrs" part that looks very strange..

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Feb 2016, 00:42

Looking at the inside main front panel (and window joints), this looks original, properly joined and oak nicely sanded & stained to match the front which is veneered.... BUT! .... 3rd photo up of the canvas square panel/ section of wood above - this just looks like ordinary 'box standard' timber (about 2' X 1') .... and I don't think Broadwood would ever trim up like this.... should be narrow beading around the inside / possibly quadrant shaped and stained. Something tells me those canvasses may be old as you say, but having seen the "picture frame" rear mountings.... they are a million miles apart! Sorry, just my opinion having stripped and polished hundreds of pianos myself.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 02 Feb 2016, 00:55

Yes I agree the canvas stretchers look out of place and the canvas is just glued to them, but perhaps dew to the thickness of the added glass and the state of the canvas it could have been remounted on new stretchers which is think is more likely as they are still nice and taught which i don't think would be the case if never touched, I think its definitely worth asking broadwood and see what information they come up with as im sure if orignal these canvas pictures would be mentioned in the case description... I will report back what I find out in the future....

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Feb 2016, 07:54

It would be interesting to know the serial number, and see a clear photo taken of it.
Broadwood have separate serial numbers for cottages and uprights....

Also is there any kind of decal/ transfer/ raised iron lettering etc inside the piano to denote "Broadwood" ?
Not referring to stuck-on labels/ pencil markings/ hand-written names or numbers in ink or fountain pen or pencil.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 02 Feb 2016, 10:49

Here are some photos inside.. the sun was shining through the stain glass windows so the colour is a little off in places!

other then on the keyboard cover there is nothing inside that says Broadwood, the only 2 markings I can find are stamped into the wood like the serial number.. one is E M and D & W I have taken a photo of the latter, the E M marking is not very clear and behind the strings.

Hope the photos can shed more light?

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Feb 2016, 13:10

I don't think this is a Broadwood (anyone on the forum agree/ disagree?)

I've seen this happen a few times where a fallboard has been swapped from an original scrapped piano (eg Bosendorfer); slightly modified and slots neatly into the side rebates. Walnut is easy to match after repolishing.

Firstly, somewhere on the piano and usually inside centre/ or right side (near tuning pins), there should be the Broadwood name properly transferred and always bearing the Broadwood coat of arms/ crest.... with various patent/ exhibition dates under the emblem. See below as an example.
BroadwoodCoatof arms.jpg
Broadwood coat of arms
BroadwoodCoatof arms.jpg (22.82 KiB) Viewed 5016 times
You say the piano was re-strung in the 1990s?? .... far from it! .... still the original oblong tuning pins and rusty/ corroded strings, and even some of them are marked with white chalk, done by a piano tuner to denote loose tuning pins. The "insides" do look English, but possibly an export straight strung/ over-damped piano.

There also seems to be confliction with the serial number (doesn't look like a Broadwood punched font). The serial number suggests its from the cottage era, but the piano is later in style.

Everything about it screams "English Upright piano" - Victorian period.

I suggest you contact Broadwood for verification, but your photos need to be more detailed, not taken from so far away, and more focussed. Alternatively, ask your local tuner if he is familiar with Broadwood.

An onsite inspection (say by myself) face to face with the piano, I would be able to tell you in a few seconds if its Broadwood or not. Hope I'm wrong, but that's my opinion.

The Broadwood' name obviously adds some value and provenance to the piano, but as the outside and inside don't 'reflect' one another, and your outer panels don't reflect the middle panels, using standard timber wood.... well, your guess is as good as mine.

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Feb 2016, 17:49

Nothing to stop a cabinet polisher/ restorer buying one of these ....

http://www.piercepianoatlas.com/catalog ... =Broadwood
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 02 Feb 2016, 18:16

That sticker with Mrs Thingy on is DEFINITELY Broadwood - I tune at least three with those in, and one of them is still in the same family, and he has the receipt with the lady's name on. The stripes are very distinctive. However, the frame on his piano is green and it's a full iron frame with oblong pins - date about 1869 so earlier than this one.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 02 Feb 2016, 18:23

Thanks for your reply Colin

I have been having a closer look at the case today to see if there is anything that would point out that the fallboard is not original, but to be honest the grain from the fallboard to the piece of wood where the lock is the grain does match a little too well to be a replacement, however that's not to say the decal inside is correct!

It was my error in saying it was restrung.. of course as you can see it hasn't been, but the piano tuner has been round and tuned it up nicely and despite the chalk there are no lose pins and the strings are not as rusted as they look in the picture far from it! Also the chalk marks are on all C pins of the whole piano which I was told is more of an indication of the location of C than any fault as they did not appear to be anything wrong with any of the C strings or pins where the chalk marks were.

I have taken photos of all the serial numbers on all the bits of wood and they all match also Bill Kibby said the serial number suggests 1885 and with the writing on the upper end key this would be correct as I can make it out to be 85 in what i assume is a date?

I also asked my piano tuner if it looked like a broadwood and he was very happy to say he could see no reason why it wouldn't be he has a few simmler like it on his rounds, he said the lock looks right for broadwood as does the style of the serial number and paper on the frame.

Hope the photos help, there is also the name W. ALLEN on the keys and the rail that holds them in place

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 02 Feb 2016, 18:44

This is an 1885 Broadwood, the date on the top key is classic Broadwood. You can't expect a royal crest when it isn't a full iron frame. Also, W.Allen was a senior employee of the Broadwood factory.

There was no change in sequence so Broadwood numbers do not discriminate between Cottage Pianos and later uprights.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Feb 2016, 18:53

Very surprised by the inside lack of design.... ! .... thought there would be something in there.
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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by stubbyeddy » 20 Apr 2016, 00:07

Just wanted to let everyone know I got the letter back from Broadwood a few weeks ago, so to cut the letter short as it was quite long! it was bought by the family who owned the large local estate...


"finished there on the 10th day of November in the year 1887" "model number 3B cottage pianoforte in walnut wood, keyboard compass a to a, retail price 78 guineas [£81 and 18 shillings]"

"interesting note in our records about your piano : we were requested to modify the "top door" of the casework in order that the painted panels supplied to us by Mr Buckley Williams could be incorporated and fitted before dispatch"

so im perfectly happy that the piano is original as all the evidence points to it !

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Re: Broadwood piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 20 Apr 2016, 09:13

It's good you've spent the time and effort researching, well done.
Very interesting.
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