Tomkison, Thomas early grand piano circa 1815 London

An early grand piano made by Thomas Tomkison serial number 1112 year circa 1815. Piano is in untouched original condition and would need work to bring it back into playing order. Quotes can be given with restoration work. This is a real museum piece.

Description

Thomas Tomkison Grand serial number 1112 circa 1815
Information by courtesy of Mr. Tim Harding, Mr. David Hackett, And Mr. Norman Macsween who have collected, researched what we know of this important maker which had not been documented till now, Thomas Tomkison, London Piano Maker
You may have looked up Thomas Tomkison in the reference books, and been disappointed to find not much more than that he operated from 55/77 Dean Street Soho between 1799 and 1851. We now have a lot of new light on his background, his family, and what his contemporaries thought about him, which we are looking to write up in accessible form. Frustratingly little has emerged on his apprenticeship, which we know started in 1778, or on how he practiced his trade before he set up shop in Dean Street (when he would have been a man of 35). Recent research shows, however, that in late 1798/early 1799 Tomkison emerged as successor to the bankrupt piano-making business of James Henry Houston, and that there are striking similarities between the first products of Tomkison’s workshop and surviving instruments of Houston. Within a few years of operation, Tomkison succeeded in making himself s a rival respected by Broadwood and Clementi for the sheer quality of his pianos. He made instruments not only for the Prince Regent, later George IV, but for at least two other royal courts in Europe, knew all the leading makers and pianists in London, was on friendly terms with the Erard and Pleyel dynasties in Paris, and enjoyed a reputation as a connoisseur of pictures as well as music. Though we do not know of any technical improvements to the mechanism of the piano that he himself innovated, we can document his inventive use of distinctive and often striking elements, such as half size dust-boards, pioneering the use of four, not six, leg square pianos (and three, not four on grands), making a remarkable 6.5 octave square as early as c.1824 and exploiting the string plate as a striking decorative feature. As witness to his commercial acumen as well as their structural stability, his pianos were widely exported to India, the Americas and Australia. Contemporary sources regularly class him with the leading English builders Broadwood, Clementi and Stodart. Thomas Tomkison serial number 1112 is the earliest of five known surviving Tomkison grands in the ‘French style’, having decorative fretwork or metalwork at the keyboard ends, and three rather than four legs or a stand. These five instruments are:

serial number 1112     FF-f4     Undivided bridge Current Palace Pianos collection

Serial number 1152     CC-c4    Divided bridge

Serial number 1216     CC-c4    Divided bridge           Missing its French frets

Serial number 1236     CC-c4    Divided bridge

Serial number 1329     CC-c4    Divided bridge           The famous piano made for George IV. Tuned June 1821 and dedicated December 1821

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