L&T Archive 1998-2003

MT: Broadwood and Sons

John Broadwood & Sons is one the oldest and most prestigious piano companies in the world. Broadwood instruments have been enjoyed by such famous people as Mozart, Haydn, Chopin, Beethoven and Lizst and the company holds the Royal Warrant as manufacturer of pianos to Queen Elizabeth II.

In an article called "Music, Character, and Social Standing in Jane Austen's Emma," Kathryn L. Shanks Libin, Persuasions, Volume 22, 2000, I found a great deal of interest about Jane and her Broadwood piano.

Jane's was not a grand, but a large-sized square pianoforte, the type more common in middle class households. In 1802 an instrument of this type, with damper pedal and decoration, listed for about 35 pounds (an amount Shanks Libin points out would have been an "easy purchase for a young man of Frank Churchill's expectations, but far more than Jane Fairfax or her Highbury relations could have afforded." Frank would have bought the instrument at Broadwood's shop in Great Pulteney Street in Soho. Shanks Libin speculates that Frank might have given directions for custom adjustments of the piano, as he comments later on "the softness of the upper notes," and adds, "I dare say, Miss Fairfax, that he [Col.Campbell]either gave his friend very minute directions or wrote to Broadwood himself." She goes on to note that the Broadwood was the that best money could buy at the time, sending a private message to Jane that he knew and appreciated her worth both as a musician and as his future bride.

Here are some links to some online resources and wonderful photos:

Beethovenís Broadwood
Thomas Broadwood, touring Europe after the Napoleonic Wars, visited Beethoven in Vienna, and in 1818 sent him a 6 octave grand, triple-stringed (now in the National Museum of Hungary, Budapest). It was later owned by Liszt. Here's a picture of it,

I found Square pianos (not Broadwood) possibly similar to Jane Fairfax's
here (choose square).

The famous Godoy Broadwood is here.

19th Century Rosewood Broadwood is here.

An extremely interesting collection including a Broadwood
is here

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MT: Broadwood and Sons
More on Broadwood pianos.