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Manxman piano - Manxman
  • Manxman
    Baillie Scott, Mackay Hugh, born 1865 - died 1945
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Manxman

  • Object:

    Manxman piano

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1896 (designed)
    ca. 1902-1903 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Baillie Scott, Mackay Hugh, born 1865 - died 1945 (designer)
    Broadwood, John, born 1732 - died 1812 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ebonised mahogany, with carved wood, pewter and mother-of-pearl; marquetry of stained wood; silver-plated handles and hinges

  • Museum number:

    W.15:1, 2-1976

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery, case 5 []

Object Type
It was not until the 1890s that design reformers attempted a radical re-styling of the upright, or cottage, piano - a common piece of 19th-century domestic furniture. Despite manufacturers' carved embellishments, pianos were generally perceived as ungainly and over-complicated designs. M.H. Baillie Scott's innovation was to enclose the keyboard, music stand and candleholders behind broad doors that rationalised the shape of the instrument.

Trading
Critical praise of the Manxman piano did not translate into large sales for its London manufacturer, Broadwood & Sons, Great Pulteney Street, Soho, who only made an estimated 40 examples. This piano failed to sell until 1910 when it was bought at a discount by the piano dealer J.C. Shirwin & Sons of Hanley, Staffordshire. The designer, C.R. Ashbee, designed a very similar piano for Broadwood in about 1900.

Design & Designing
The piano's form most closely resembles a Spanish 17th-century chest on a stand, or vargueno. In 1901 the Architectural Review suggested that it was inspired by 'an old strong box of the Elizabethan period'. Both forms were inspiration to Arts and Crafts designers of the late 19th century.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

ca. 1896 (designed)
ca. 1902-1903 (made)

Artist/maker

Baillie Scott, Mackay Hugh, born 1865 - died 1945 (designer)
Broadwood, John, born 1732 - died 1812 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Ebonised mahogany, with carved wood, pewter and mother-of-pearl; marquetry of stained wood; silver-plated handles and hinges

Dimensions

Height: 116.8 cm closed, Width: 136 cm closed, Depth: 62.4 cm closed

Object history note

Designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott (born in Ramsgate, Kent, 1865, died in Brighton, East Sussex, 1945); piano made by John Broadwood and Sons Ltd., London
Case possibly made by Broadwoods; or the Guild of Handicraft, London; or the Pyghtle Works, Bedford

Object sampling carried out by Jo Darrah, V&A Science; drawer/slide reference 6/45.

Descriptive line

Manxman piano by M. H. Baillie Scott in ebonised mahogany, with carved wood, marquetry, pewter and mother-of-pearl. Great Britain, ca. 1896.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Karen Livingstone and Linda Parry, eds., International Arts & Crafts (V&A: V&A Publications, 2005), p.22.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
M.H. Baillie Scott was an influential architect and designer of the late Arts and Crafts period. His bold, simple style was admired throughout Europe and America. This piano is very typical of his work with contrasts in colour and texture achieved with unusual materials, inlays and marquetry. The piano's name refers to an inhabitant of the Isle of Man. [27/03/2003]
International Arts & Crafts
The piano shows Baillie Scott's innovative and sophisticated approach to design. Its form is bold and simple but the unusual materials provide contrasts in colour and texture. Baillie Scott showed a similar ingenuity of vision in all his work. The design was praised by the critics but never of commercial success. [17/03/2005]

Production Note

Case possibly made by Broadwoods; or the Guild of Handicraft, London; or the Pyghtle Works, Bedford

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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