Manxman  thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Manxman

Manxman Piano
ca. 1896 (designed), ca. 1902-1903 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Piano
  • Key
Materials and Techniques
Ebonised mahogany, with carved wood, pewter and mother-of-pearl; marquetry of stained wood; silver-plated handles and hinges
Brief Description
Manxman piano by M. H. Baillie Scott in ebonised mahogany, with carved wood, marquetry, pewter and mother-of-pearl. Great Britain, ca. 1896.
Dimensions
  • Closed height: 116.8cm
  • Closed width: 136cm
  • Closed depth: 62.4cm
Dimensions checked: Measured; 17/06/1999 by Sorrel
Gallery Label
  • 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)
Object history
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.
Production
Case possibly made by Broadwoods; or the Guild of Handicraft, London; or the Pyghtle Works, Bedford
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
Livingstone, Karen & Parry, Linda (eds.), International Arts and Crafts, London : V&A Publications, 2005p.22
Collection
Accession Number
W.15:1, 2-1976

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL