Grand Piano

Maker: Joseph Böhm (Austrian, Vienna 1786–ca.1850)

Date: ca. 1815–20

Geography: Vienna, Austria

Culture: Austrian

Medium: Wood, various materials

Dimensions: L. 223.4 cm (88 in.); W. 126.4 cm (49 3/4 in.); Diam. 32 cm (12 1/2 in.); H. 93.7 cm (37 in.); 3-octave span 47.7 cm (18 3/4 in.); Sounding L. (1) f4, 5.5 striking, .5 cm; (2) c2, 27 striking, 3.2 cm; FF,173.2 striking, 16.6 cm

Classification: Chordophone-Zither-struck-piano

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund; Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher M. Brown III, Mr. and Mrs. Philip J. Hess, Carroll Music Instrument Service Corp., The New York Flute Club Inc. and Piano Technicians Guild Gifts; Gifts of Mrs. Etta M. Helmer, Alice Getty, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Wellman, Mr. and Mrs. Peter M. F. Sichel, Craig E. Steese, Hilda Katz, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur A. Travis, and The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, by exchange; and funds from various donors, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.138


Napoleon's second wife, Marie Louise, is believed to have owned this grand piano while she was grand duchess of Parma. The exotic elm veneer is enriched by mercury-gilt mounts depicting grapevines, acanthus, and Psyche at a tripod brazier; imperial eagles crown the legs and nameplate. The original griffin-shaped pedal support was lost during World War II. The instrument has a six octave range (seventy-three keys), the size that was customary at the time, around when Beethoven was composing his late piano works. Joseph Böhm, the builder of this sumptuous piano, was a member of Vienna's civic keyboard-maker's association.