Tomkison, Thomas Cabinet Upright piano from the Victorian Era
Thomas Tomkison Cabinet piano Serial number 752 circa 1830s in a rosewood case having 6 octaves.
A Victorian Style Cabinet piano made by Thomas Tomkison 55/77 Dean Street Soho London. Case of Mahogany and inlaid brass . Circa 1830s, this tall Cabinet piano shows itself with musical education mixed with the importance of the social times of England under the rule of Queen Victoria. This Pianoforte would have been found in a music salon with high ceilings, and probably draped with wonderful shawls of silk or other fabrics to entice the guests that were welcomed for a tea or a piano recital. For one to show off their financial status, was a normal in this particular era of London Fashion.
Style, the way things look in a particular period, depends upon interlocking social and artistic factors. There was a greater diversity of styles in Victorian Britain than in the eighteenth century. The desire of the new rich to be seen on equal terms with the landowning aristocracy, or to be better than them, the desire of the rapidly developing industrial and business community to find a style that suited them, and the desire of an increasingly powerful middle class to tell the world about their new status – all these aspirations made it impossible for one style to meet everyone’s demands.
Each group tended to choose a style demonstrating their identity and their worth. For the business class, for example, the worthy and patriotic status of classical design gave authority and weight to their position of trust. This type of furniture would not have been found in average middle-class homes or even those of many wealthy people. However, the new designs pioneered in these pieces were soon simplified and commercialized by manufacturers. The design of all furniture, even the very cheapest, was to follow the lead.
The design of much Victorian furniture, like Georgian furniture before it, was based on historical models and the wide range of styles was selected from architecture as well as older furniture designs. In the first part of Victoria’s reign, many design styles were simply elaborations of earlier ones with increased emphasis placed on surface decoration. As the period progressed designs were viewed more critically and interest shifted away from decoration towards structure and form. One can imagine this piano within this period of elegance quite well.