Grand piano, ca. 1790
Ferdinand Hofmann (Viennese, 1756–1829)
Wood and various materials; Total L. 82 7/8 in. (210.5 cm); W. 37 1/2 in. (95.3 cm)
Gift of Geraldine C. Herzfeld, in memory of her husband, Monroe Eliot Hemmerdinger, 1984 (1984.34)
This beautifully preserved cherry-wood piano, which retains the maker's fragile wax seal on a label inside, was built by Ferdinand Hofmann, a leading member of Vienna's civic keyboard-maker's association. He became its president in 1806 and won a court appointment. The striking, almost architectural decor of this instrument typifies the maker's early work. Knee levers lift the dampers and a knob over the nameplate operates a mute, or moderator. The instrument has a five-octave range (sixty-one notes) and is double-strung in the bass and middle registers and triple-strung in the treble.