Monday, 14 May 2018

Queen Victoria's piano

Music & Monarchy: Erard Piano from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.

Last year, the Royal Collection Trust completed the restoration of Queen Victoria's piano, and created a video to celebrate the event. It is a fascinating film, well worth a watch, about a fascinating piano. Of course, Queen Victoria had a number of pianos but this one was ordered in 1856 from the London firm of S & P Erard. It was the founder of the firm, Sebastian Erard who invented the double escapement action which enabled pianos to repeat the same note very quickly (something demonstrated in the film).

The most noticeable feature of the piano is of course the decoration, and this was Queen Victoria's choice, it comes originally from a piano she ordered in the 1830s (and played with Lord Melbourne), and for the new piano the decoration was transferred. So by 1856 it must have looked very old fashioned, but it seems that she loved the monkeys!

The film gives the various personnel involved in the restoration a chance to explain the complexities of their work, and the background music is Howard Shelley playing on the piano.

You can find out more about the piano at the Royal Collection Trust website, and it normally sits in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.

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