This unique, custom-built piano would be equally at home in some forgotten Baronial Mansion or modern “Steampunk” style home
A note from Michael Stinnett, Founder of Antique Piano Shop, Inc:
This beautiful Pleyel is one of the most unusual pianos in our collection. When I found this piece, my first thought was “This looks like a Steampunk Piano!”, referencing the current trend in Steampunk interior design style.
This piano was built in Paris a century ago and was custom made to resemble a Medieval-era harpsichord. Because of its massive “larger than life” proportions and unique styling, this piano was likely commissioned for some grand European castle or forgotten Baronial mansion. From what we know, the piano remained in France until the late 20th Century when it was exported to the United States.
When I was deciding what music to play for these videos, I was drawn to thoughts of Paris as it was a century ago when this piano was built. I was reminded of the grandeur of the Paris Opera House where “Phantom of the Oprea” was set. As I play these songs from “Phantom”, I could imagine this grand old piano being played in the Paris Opera House right before the Chandelier falls…
It blows my mind that this piano is in original, unrestored condition. When we acquired it, it was unplayable because it hadn’t been used or tuned in decades. I spent some time tuning it and making adjustments so that all the keys worked, and listen to how incredible it sounds now! I can only imagine how fantastic it will sound once it is restored!
Pleyel was one of the largest and most successful piano builders in Europe; they were undoubtedly the most romantic piano builder of all time. Pleyel specialized in manufacturing custom-made, specially designed instruments for European elite, many of these instruments being very avant-garde and even shocking in appearance!
The post-WWI era saw a resurgence in historic and period furniture styles in the interior design industry. Pleyel custom-built this piano to resemble an 18th century Italian harpsichord in the painted Louis XVI style. Sitting tall and proud on 7 individual Louis XVI style legs, the case is adorned with hand-painted murals accented in distressed greens and yellows and trimmed in aged antique gold. This piano was obviously created to appear “larger than life”; the exterior cabinet was made longer, taller and deeper than the instrument within, giving the illusion of massive grandeur fit for a Medieval castle.
This piano is photographed here in unrestored condition complete with its original distressed finish and aged patina. This instrument is not just a stunning piece of furniture, but is also a serious musical instrument. Even now, prior to restoration, the tone of this piano is phenomenal, indicating a superior instrument post restoration.
Computerized player mechanisms can be installed in this piano if desired, allowing the piano to play wirelessly from an iPad, computer or smartphone. This piano was originally built as a paper-roll operated player piano but the original player mechanisms were removed years ago, making it an ideal candidate for the Pianomation Player System. Thousands of song titles are available!