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Clementi & Co. 1804


Date: 1804

Origin: London

Serialnumber: stamped: 236 - inked: 3742

Instruments by Muzio Clementi were highly valued at the beginning of the 19th century and had a very high reputation. Among the preserved instruments there are almost instruments with a compass of 5 ½ octaves and double-action. This special square piano is unique because it is built like the early instruments from the 1770s and 1780s. It only has a compass of 5 octaves, a (for that time “unfashionable”) trestle stand and no pedals or stops.

The case of the instrument is made of mahogany with encircling multicolour ribbon inlays of different woods. The keyboard is made from ivory and ebony. It has a single action with leather covered hammers, double strung and single dampers. The nameboard bears the inscription:

„Clementi & Co.

Manufactures of Musical Instruments

And Music Sellers

26 Cheapside & Tottenham Court Road


Square pianos by Clementi were always provided with two serial numbers: one stamped on the left and one handwritten with ink on the wrest plank (stamped: 236 – inked: 3742).

The system used by Clementi counts with the inked number the general production of pianos since the acquisition of the company “Longman & Broderip” in 1798. The stamped numbers, however, continue the production of square pianos of the acquired company “Longman & Broderip”, but only instruments with the 1794 introduced “New Patent“. Other instruments (for example single action instruments, grand pianos or cabinet pianos) were added together in other groups.

Based on these serial numbers, the year of construction of this instrument can be derived to 1804. (See: Clementi & Co 1798-1830 Pianoforte Manufacture in London, Leif Sahlqvist 2013)


Why did the company still build quite a few instruments around 1804 that were already old-fashioned when the developments to a larger compass already existed and the improved Double Action? It can be assumed that there was still a small demand for these instruments. There was, of course, a flourishing trade in second-hand instruments, but by then these instruments could have been around 20-30 years old. It can be assumed that this instrument was built as a kind of a “practising-instrument” for a private school or piano teacher to complete the musical education of rich daughters.

I would like to thank Michael Cole for his support in researching this instrument.


For more information about the company Muzio Clementi & Co. – click here!


Other preserved instruments by Muzio Clementi & Co.:

  • 1803 square piano (No. 3468) – Newton Centre: Marlowe A. Sigal Collection, USA
  • 1803 square piano (No. 2335) – Museu da Musica Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1806 square piano (No. 4095) – German Museum Munich, Germany



Length: 160 cm

Width: 59 cm

Height: 23 cm

Circumference: 5 octaves (FF – f3)

Mechanics: single action with single dampers

Pedals: ---

Signature: „Clementi & Co.
Manufactures of Musical Instruments
And Music Sellers
26 Cheapside & Tottenham Court Road