Grand Piano

Maker: Ferdinand Hofmann (Austrian, 1756–1829 Vienna)

Date: ca. 1790

Geography: Vienna, Austria

Culture: Austrian

Medium: Cherry wood, various other materials

Dimensions: L. 210.5 cm (82 7/8 in.); W. 95.3 cm (37 1/2 in.); 3-octave span 48 cm (18 7/8 in.); L. of FF string 163.3 cm (64 1/4 in.); L. of c2 string 73.6 cm (29 in.); f3 10.8 cm (4 1/4 in.)

Classification: Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano

Credit Line: Gift of Geraldine C. Herzfeld, in memory of her husband, Monroe Eliot Hemmerdinger, 1984

Accession Number: 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. The piano is of the type that was customary in Mozart’s day.