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1884 Chappell Grand Piano

"Here are photos I took today of my 6' 5" Chappell grand piano before restoration. It will take several months to get it playing like new. It was made in London in 1884, serial no. 17487. The piano has carving on all sides including the rim, lid and fall board over the keys. The piano may be mahogany or rosewood under the ebony finish. We will know as we get further into the job. Notice the squarish harpsichord-shaped rim. At this time Chappell was making about 600 pianos a year. About 10% of their production was grand pianos. " - Tom Masinter

Chappell & Co. was established in 1811 as music sellers and soon became a major publisher of music. One of their first publications was Studies for the Pianoforte by John Baptist Cramer which is still in print.  They made their first pianos in 1840 and became a leading piano manufacturer in London in the second half of the 19th Century through the 20th Century earning a reputation for building fine pianos. In 1901 Chappell Piano Co. Ltd. was incorporated as a separate company from the music publishing side. From the late 1890's through the 1920's they were producing about 1000 pianos a year. Production became small from 1929 onwards with only a few 100 pianos made each year. In 1929 Chappell purchased Allison Piano Co. and Collard & Collard Piano Co. In 1938 they bought John Strohmenger and Sons Piano Co. From 1978 - 2000 Chappell pianos were made by Kemble Piano Co. Chappell pianos were the piano of choice for the BBC.


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"Dear Sirs, I consider the tone of a remarkable sweet and sympathetic quality, and of musical sustaining power, and the touch is very responsive and light. Having always been used to pianos of German make, it was a great and agreeable surprise to me to find such a perfect instrument of English manufacture. Yours, Richard Strauss."

Chappell promoted concerts which were very popular and brought much new music to London such as the first complete piano sonatas of Beethoven in recital in 1861. They were responsible for supporting the first successful production of Gounod's Faust after it had failed in Paris. An office boy from Chappell acted as the go-between in the troubled association of Gilbert and Sullivan.  Chappell was one of the financial sponsors of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Co. Many famous pianists of the day performed on Chappell concert grands in concert including Moiseiwitsch, Novello, Cahill, Backhaus, Myra Hess and many others.

"Such people as the Chappells are very rarely to be found in human affairs."  - Charles Dickens

"Thanks, then, to Arthur Chappell, thanks to him
Whose every gust henceforth not idly vaunts
Sense has received the utmost Nature grants,
My cup is filled with rapture to the brim,
When, night by night - ah, memory, how it haunts!
Music was poured by perfect ministrants,
By Halle, Schumann, Piatti, Joachim." - Robert Browning