In 1893, Steinway & Sons of New York built what may have been their tallest upright piano at 77 inches in height. With a cabinet design by Herts Bros. of New York, this exquisite instrument, replete with veneered columns and brass capitals, claw feet, and burled mahogany finish, was sold to William duPont and shipped first to his estate, Bellvue, and later to his historic farm Montpelier, the presidential home of James Madison, in Orange, Virginia.
Tom Shaw (right) of Charlottesville Piano and Mark Perry (left) of Perry Pianos teamed up to restore this very important piano. Mark is an expert in 19th century piano finishes, and he and his employees hand-polished the burled mahogany veneer with real beetle resin and denatured alcohol using the same methods as Herts Bros used when the case was first manufactured.
We are proud to have been selected by The National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Montpelier Foundation to restore this unique Steinway. This piano is currently housed at Montpelier in the duPont museum. To see more about James Madison’s Montpelier, see: http://www.montpelier.org/
Photo credit: James Madison’s Montpelier
To read more about this restoration and to view more photographs, read the article about this piano’s restoration from Piedmont Virginia Magazine here: Piedmont Virginian Article Jan 2010