Monday, November 16, 2009

Burne-Jones family piano

Panel above keyboard

Panel below the keyboard

The piano was "made by Frederick Priestley, an otherwise unknown piano maker, and given as a wedding present to Edward Burne-Jones in 1860. He subsequently decorated it with a scene from the Medieval Romance, the 'Chant d'Amour' and an allegory of death. In her biography, 'The Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones', his wife referred to a picture of Death on the panel below the keyboard, 'standing outside the gate of a garden where a number of girls, unconscious of his approach, are resting and listening to music'."
- courtesy The Victoria & Albert Museum

(detail from image above)

American oak case, painted with shellac varnish
Length 127 cm
Height 93.5 cm
Depth 47 cm
Museum no. W.43-1926
Given by Mrs J. W. Mackail, daughter of the artist
Gallery location: Musical Instruments, room 40a, case BY5

The only information I found about Frederick Priestley gave information about a patent "for improvements in piano-fortes [Dated 16th April, 1856]" - it gave his address as Cleveland-street, Fitzroy-square.

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