Beautiful refurbished Broadwood. We have brought this piano upto a lovely playing standard and as you can see in the picture is is a stunning piece of furniture too! Here is some background on Broadwood pianos:
John Broadwood & Sons are the oldest English piano manufacturers still operating today. They have a long history that has been central to the development of the modern day piano as we know it, starting from its beginnings in the harpsichord trade.
In 1728 Swiss harpsichord maker Burkat Shudi started his own workshop in London. Shudi had learned his craft as an apprentice with Hermann Tabel, who in turn had trained with the Ruckers family, the greatest harpsichord makers of the 17th century. This was the foundation of the business now known as John Broadwood & Sons. In 1769 John Broadwood, a fine craftsman, married Barbara, Shudi’s younger daughter. In 1771 Shudi handed over the running of his business to his son Burkat and John Broadwood, and in 1773, Shudi died, bequeathing the workshop to his son and his son-in-law John Broadwood, who became its effective head.
The Firm became ‘John Broadwood & Sons’ in 1808, with the introduction of John Broadwood’s second son, Thomas. Broadwood’s first son James had already joined the firm in 1795. By 1842, 2,500 pianos a year were being made in the great factory in Horseferry Road, Westminster. Broadwood continued to be at the forefront in piano development and in 1888 they patented improvements in the metal frame, leading to the ‘barless’ concert grand, with over stringing.
The 20th century and the rise of other forms of home entertainment affected the whole of the piano trade; Broadwood even diversified into gramophones for a short period. However pianos remained central to manufacturing up to the end of the last century, albeit with decreasing demand from the market.
Piano production was moved to a small factory at Moss in Norway, in 2003. In 2008 the company changed hands for the first time; the new chairman Dr Alastair Laurence, has family ties with Broadwoods going back to the year 1787. At this point, new restoration and conservation workshops were constructed at in Kent, England. Broadwood now hand make pianos to order, and provide a comprehensive restoration service for older instruments.
Broadwood have a long lineage of connections to famous musicians and other historical figures. Broadwood supplied harpsichords to the painters Reynolds and Gainsborough, and Josef Haydn ordered one. In 1765 a nine-year-old prodigy by the name of Mozart, visiting London, played a Shudi harpsichord. This was an important part of Mozart’s tour of Europe, where he was feted as a genius in the making.
In 1817 Thomas Broadwood visited Beethoven in Vienna, and in 1818 sent him a 6 octave grand, triple-stringed. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert also famously played Broadwood square pianos and made music with Mendelssohn.
Fryderyk Chopin became a great friend of Henry Broadwood in 1848, when the dying pianist visited the UK. Broadwood arranged concerts to bring in some vital income, provided pianos for all his lodgings and concerts, and train tickets. In his letters Chopin wrote:
“Broadwood has been my best and truest friend. He is as you know a very rich and well educated man …. He has splendid connections”.
At our showroom we often have Broadwood models available because we find very few other older pianos have the unique beautiful tone of the Broadwood and the quality of the original pianos were second only to the famous German makes.