Artist: Sébastien Érard and Henry Dasson
Title: Napoleon III Ormolu-Mounted Satinwood and Parquetry Grand Piano, 1870
Satinwood, Gilt, Ebony, Ivory
On loan from the Norfolk Education Foundation
Piano builder Sébastien Érard launched his company in 1777. His pianos became popular for their beautiful sound. Great composers such as Beethoven, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Verdi, and Ravel all owned and played Érard pianos. Érard’s company made this piano around 1870. Its strings and frame are enclosed in an elegant inlaid case created by French cabinetmaker Henry Dasson. Inlay is a process in which one piece of wood is set into another to create detailed patterns. Other decoration was added by gilding, or applying a thin layer of gold to metal ornaments. Unlike other objects in the Museum that are too rare or fragile to be touched, this piano was restored so that it could be played for concerts in this gallery.