Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Square Piano

Anton Vatter (possibly Anton Walter)
ca. 1800
Vienna, Austria
Cherry (?), iron, ebony, bone
Case length (perpendicular to keyboard) 58.8 cm, Width (parallel to keyboard) 159.2 cm, Case depth (without lid) 20.7 cm, Total height 79.5 cm, 3-octave span 47.7 cm,
String length: longest 133.3 cm
shortest 11.0 cm
c2 29.5 cm
Credit Line:
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889
Accession Number:
Not on view
This square piano may have come from the workshop of Anton Walter. One of th emost important piano makers in the Viennese tradition, Walter improved upon the German piano action of Johann Andreas Stein. Around 1782, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart purchased a grand piano from Walter, which he used to write most of his later piano works. There are no other known square pianos from the Walter workshop, and the unusual spelling of the maker's last name may indicate that this instrument was built by another maker.
This square piano has a simple case without decoration, probably of cherry wood and sits on top of four square, tapered legs. The keyboard has sixty-one keys (FF-f3) with ebony naturals and bone slips over dark stained accidental blocks. There are two knee levers, the left operates a felt piano stop and the right lifts the dampers. German action with escapement, brass kapsels, and overhead dampers.
Marking: 1) (in ink on light wood oval in brass frame on nameboard, in place of original enamel plaque) Anton Vatter/ in Wienn;
2) 9 in black, on bottom of case) B (large letter)
Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown
Makers of the Piano, 1700-1820. Oxford University Press. Oxford, UK, 1993, pg. 304, 313-314.

Historical Pianos, Clavichords and Harpsichords. N. E. Michel, Publisher. Pico Rivera, CA, 1970, pg. 85, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments: Europe. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1904, vol. I, pg. 94.

Catalogue of Keyboard Instruments. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 0, pg. 139,141, ill.

Catalogue of the Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments of All Nations: I. Europe, Galleries 25 and 26, Central Cases of Galleries 27 and 28. Catalogue., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, vol. 13, pg. 94.

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