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Grand piano Hoeberechts & Groetaers

chordophone

This beautiful grand piano, property of the Royal Palace, is the third-oldest Belgian grand piano which has been preserved.  It demonstrates the artistry of the firm Hoeberechts & Groetaers, active in Brussels 1800-1826, at the time the largest and most famous piano manufacturers in Belgium.

The instrument case, with its refined and elegant shape, is covered with a particularly beautiful walnut burr veneer. It stands on four turned legs, the bronze capitals of which are carved with acanthus leaves.  A large board links the front legs.  On the board there is an avant-garde-shaped lyre with five push buttons. Each button connects to a pedal underneath the lyre activating a different register: lute, bassoon, forte, celesta and una corda. The name-board is flame maple veneered and bears an octagonal walnut burr cartouche which is curiously unsigned.  The manufacturers' signature is, however, visible in ink on the pinblock.

Thanks to documents conserved in the Royal Archives of The Hague and the Archives of the Royal Palace in Brussels, the history of this magnificent instrument can be traced with precision: commissioned by King William the First, it was delivered and invoiced on 18 November 1816 for the impressive sum of 3,532.50 francs.  Shortly afterwards, Hoeberechts & Groetaers petitioned the King for the use of the title of "forte piano makers to his Royal Majesty".  The request was granted, taking account of the fact that Hoeberechts & Groetaers "are rightly famous in their profession, both in this country and abroad, and deserve to obtain from His Majesty the title that they request".

Pascale Vandervellen - translation Fiona Shotter

 

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Grand piano, Hoeberechts & Groetaers, 1816, inv. D2014.001.001
Grand piano Hoeberechts & Groetaers
Grand piano Hoeberechts & Groetaers
Grand piano Hoeberechts & Groetaers
At the exhibition 'Piano & co' in the MIAT, Ghent, 2015
Comment of visitors of 'Piano & co' au MIAT, Ghent, 2015