Piano

  • Designer / Maker

    Designed by Henry William Batley (1846-1932)

    Manufactured by James Shoolbred & Co.

    The action by Collard & Collard

  • Detail

    Satinwood and boxwood

    Piano: 122 x 159.4 x 76.2 cm

    English (London), circa 1878

  • Marked

    ‘COLLARD & COLLARD / CASE BY / JAMES SHOOLBRED & Co’ (on silvered label above the keys); ‘250 / COLLARD & COLLARD’ and ‘110020 / W. Hutchinson [facsimile signature]’ (on action)

  • Exhibited

    Paris Exposition Universelle, 1878

  • Literature

    The Art Journal, 4 (1878), p. 302

  • Collection

    Minneapolis Institute of Art

  • Notes

    Batley was a major contributor to the Paris Exposition Universelle, 1878.

    He provided designs for Henry Ogden of Manchester and for Shoolbred; he also furnished for Shoolbred the house built on the Street of Nations by Doulton. For this house Batley created suites of satinwood and boxwood furniture, seen today to represent a high-point of Anglo-Japanese aestheticism.

    The Victoria and Albert Museum, London has a piano of the same form as the present example, but with minor variations in the decoration (see Elizabeth Aslin, 19th Century English Furniture, London, 1962, col. pl. D).

    This was long considered to have been the piano shown at the Paris 1878 exhibition, but records (now lost) showed that the V & A piano, numbered 115313, was not made until 1881 (see Susan Weber Soros ‘Rediscovering H. W. Batley (1846-1932), British Aesthetic Movement Artist and Designer’,Studies in Decorative Arts, IV, 2 (Spring-Summer 1999), pp. 2-41 n. 104).

    The decoration of the present piano, when compared with the illustration from The Art Journal suggests that this was, in fact, the one shown in Paris.

    The visual evidence, combined with the earlier number on the action, and the silvered label certainly indicate a piece created for such an occasion.