"Possibly The Most Ornately Carved Piano In The World"
This is the quite possibly the most ornately carved piano in the world. This instrument is a true “One of a Kind” Masterpiece built in 1888 by the prestigious Blasius & Sons Piano Company of Philadelphia. Although Blasius & Sons is not widely known today, at one time the firm was one of the most celebrated firms in the industry. Blasius & Sons was known for building very high quality and very expensive pianos.
This remarkable instrument is thought to have been commissioned by the wealthy French playwright and painter Eugène Morand in celebration of the birth of his son Paul Morand, the famous 20th Century French author (March 13, 1888 – July 24, 1976). The elder Morand was a curator at the Louvre and served as director of the École des Arts Décoratifs (The National School of Decorative Arts) in Paris. Being a family of wealth and privilege, the Morand home was a gathering place for the social elite and those notable in the arts and literature. Jules Massenet, composer of popular operas of the era, sculptor Auguste Rodin and writer Oscar Wilde were guests. In his early years, Paul Morand was introduced to such luminaries as the actress Sarah Bernhardt and poet Stéphane Mallarmé.
Each exquisitely carved vignette reveals its own story relating to music, drama, theater and literature. A life of privilege living among the greatest artists, poets and musicians of the period certainly influenced the design of this magnificent piano!
On either side of the keyboard are very detailed statues of singing minstrels playing medieval lutes. The front of the piano boasts incredibly expressive faces flanked by the words “Tragedy”, “Drama”, “Comedy”, and “Opera”. Names of 12 great composers and musicians are carved in the lower part of the cabinet including “Gluck”, “Bach”, “Paderewski”, “Lassus”, “Rubenstein”, “Auber”, “Mascagni”, “Rore”, “Cherubini”, “Meyerbeer”, “Mendelsohn”, and “Liszt”. The circular carved vignettes around the sides depict angels and cherubs playing musical instruments, all joined by elaborately carved garland and ribbon swags holding horns, harps, drums, sheet music, etc. The piano's legs depict very detailed human faces with human arms and hands stretched above as if they are carrying the instrument on their backs. These human forms morph into large tiger-claw legs and feet which represent immense power and strength. The pedal lyre depicts exceptionally detailed oak leaves and branches. The back side of the pedal lyre, a place not easily visible, is even carved to look like the massive trunk of an ancient oak tree!
The most breathtaking detail on the entire instrument is the unbelievable carved detail on the piano lid itself. The lid of the piano is an incredible depiction of “PARADISO CANTO XXXI”, or “Paradise”, the third and final part of “The Divine Comedy” by Dante. This amazing carved frieze features over 100 singing angels floating in the clouds; each individual angel is carved in exceptional detail – to the extreme that each angel appears to be anatomically correct. It is important to understand that this extensive relief carving was carved from a very thick piece of Mahogany wood; it was not carved and glued to a lesser piece of wood. Every last detail on this piano is actually carved into the wood – there is absolutely no applied carving anywhere whatsoever. The technique used in this carving is one of the things that makes this piano so very special.
Perhaps the most influential of celebrity endorsements for Blasius & Sons was world famous inventor, Thomas A. Edison. Known as "The World's Greatest Acoustician” and the inventor of electricity and the phonograph, Edison worked tirelessly trying to successfully record the piano so that it could be faithfully reproduced on his early cylinder records. Edison used Blasius & Sons pianos in his recording laboratory, and he stated that "my experiments prefer the 'BLASIUS' in Tone, Finish, Workmanship and Construction; THE BLASIUS PIANO SURPASSES ALL OTHERS." It’s fascinating to think that a Blasius & Sons piano was probably the first piano in history to be recorded!
This piano is in remarkable original condition. It had been stored for many years unused, but it has not been subject to abuse or neglect. The ivory keys and ebony sharps are in pristine condition and will restore to perfection. The piano will be restored internally to like-new condition, making this an instrument of superior musical quality which will satisfy the most discriminating pianist.