Broderip & Wilkinson 1802
Longman & Broderip was one of the most famous companies in the late 18th century in England. After the company’s bankruptcy in 1795, James Longman and Francis Fane Broderip went to jail. In 1796 the successful composer and businessman Muzio Clementi became partner of James Longman and instruments were sold under the brand Longman & Clementi. At the same time, Francis Broderip entered into a business relationship with George Wilkinson, which lasted until the death of Broderip on February 18, 1807.
An exquisite instrument from that period is shown here. It was made in 1802 and is in almost all details equal as instruments from the late time of Longman & Broderip. The case is made of mahogany with circumferential and multi-coloured ribbon inlays of different wood. The instrument rests on a French stand with brass castors. The keys are covered with ivory and ebony. Furthermore, it has a wooden pedal for controlling the dampers and it is double strung. The nameboard is decorated with an oval enamel cartridge and bears the signature:
Broderip & Wilkinson
On the first key is handwritten signature with the year “1802.” The instrument has a double action with leather covered hammers and single dampers. The compass is 5 ½ octaves (FF – c4). Above the action is the original dust-cover, which is covered with green silk.
George Wilkinson was born on November 5, 1785. After entering into a business relationship with Francis Broderip, his eldest brother Charles Wilkinson joined the company in 1805. After the death of Francis Broderip in 1807 he produced instruments under the name Wilkinson & Co.
On September 23 1809, he married Elizabeth Cecilia Mary Broadhurst. The marriage was announced in the “Gentleman’s Magazine” of 1809. Together they had 7 children (Ann (1814 – 1814), Emma (1815 – 1889), Matilda (1817 – 1876), Oriana (1818 – 1853), Louisa (1820 – ?), Alfred Broadhurst Wilkinson (1822 – 1854), and Henry Broadhurst Wilkinson (1824 – ?).
In 1809, Wilkinson commissioned Augustus Leukfeld and George Astor to produce licensed pianos under William Southwell’s patent (EN 3029, 1807). In 1810 he sold the publishing business to Thomas Preston (1789 – 1834) and entered into a new business relationship with Robert Wornum (1780 – 1852), having borrowed £ 12,000 from his father. The Wilkinson & Wornum company now produced improved upright pianos and the factory and showrooms were located near Hanover Square at 315 Oxford Street and 11 Princes Street. The warehouse and factory were destroyed by fire in 1812, with up to 70 workers were laid off and debts over 16.500 pounds were left. In 1813 the partnership broke up and the company was transferred to Wilkinson’s father, who paid the debts.
Towards the end of 1813 Wilkinson rented a house on Howland Street No. 32 and founded a piano factory in Oxford Street No.315. In 1816 he added showrooms on New Bond Street. Instruments from this period were highly commended by Pleyel.
Together with Ferdinand Hirschfeld, he entered into a new partnership after 1830. Both produced special patented candles. However, this partnership also ended in bankruptcy in 1835.
In 1854, George Wilkinson left London and went to Milford Haven to escape the cholera in London. There he died in 1855 from a stroke.
Other surviving instruments by Broderip & Wilkinson:
- 1798 – 1807 square piano – Musikhistorisk Museum & Carl Claudius’ Samling, Copenhagen Denmark
- 1798 – 1807 square piano – Geoff Watson, Barnard Castle, England
|Circumference:||5 ½ Oktaven (FF – c4)|
|Pedals:||1 pedal - dampers|
Broderip & Wilkinson