A True Masterpiece: The Antique Blasius & Sons Custom Carved Grand Piano

"Possibly The Most Ornately Carved Piano In The World"

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Specifications
  • YEAR: 1888
  • LENGTH: 6 feet, 0 inches
  • FINISH: Solid Mahogany with Original Aged Patina
  • STATUS: Pending Restoration
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description

This is the most elaborately carved “Art Case” grand piano we have ever had in our collection.  This stunning piano was built by the prestigious Blasius & Sons Piano Company of Philadelphia in 1888.  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.

 

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 instrument is a true “One of a Kind” Masterpiece.  The cabinet is made of SOLID HONDURAS MAHOGANY WOOD, and was commissioned to the French woodcarver C. A. Morand.   All surviving pieces we have seen of C. A. Morand appear to be in Europe, indicating that Mr. Morand either traveled to Philadelphia to carve the piano, or the piano was sent to his workshop near Paris for the cabinet work to be executed.  Every last detail on this piano is actually carved into the wood – there is absolutely no applied carving anywhere whatsoever.

 

The carved detail on this piano depicts various aspects of music, drama and theatre.  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!

 

Perhaps the most breathtaking detail on the entire instrument is the unbelievable carved detail on the piano lid itself.  The lid of the piano features over 100 nude cherubs floating in the clouds; each individual cherub is carved in exceptional detail – to the extreme that each cherub 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.  The technique used in this carving is one of the things that makes this piano so very special. 

 

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. 

INSTRUMENT CATALOGS & EPHEMERA

Blasius Advertisements Period Advertisements for the Blasius Piano Company of Philadelphia
Thomas A. Edison Endorses Blasius & Sons

Late 19th Century Handwritten Endorsement From Thomas A. Edison