Meincke & Pieter Meyer 1811 – 1818
|Date:||1811 - 1818|
Meincke & Pieter Meyer belonged to one of the best piano manufactories in the Netherlands at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. This square piano is one of the most elegant models and is totally different from the early typical English style instruments that were built by this company. The instrument convinces with its clear design, excellent workmanship and extraordinary sound.
The piano is made of mahogany and stands on four, tapering legs with ormolu ornaments. The front edges are chamfered and the case is decorated all around with brass inlays and a veneered backside. It has a second action and a pedal for controlling the dampers.
The dark nameboard bears the signature with gold-plated letters in an oval blue cartouche:
“M. & P. Meyer
Rokin No. 175
With a compass of 6 octaves (FF – f4) and leather covered hammers the instruments keyboard is made of ivory and ebony. It is double strung and has single dampers. The whole instrument is extremely well made and the sound is strong and more like a grand fortepiano than other square pianos from that period.
Meincke Meyer was born around 1740; an exact year of birth is unknown. He worked with the Saxonian piano maker Johann Zumpe until 1779 in London. From that cooperation in London two instruments made in 1776 and 1778 are preserved. In 1779 Meincke went back to Amsterdam and opened together with his brother Pieter (the year of birth is also unknown) a piano factory. The newspaper “Amsterdamsche Courant” of 10 June 1779 reports that the two brothers have returned from London and opened a piano business:
„MEINCKE MEYER, geweezene Compagnon van JOHANNES ZUMPI, beroemde Muziek-Instrumentenmaker tot Londen, neemt de vrijheid, lieden van Distinctie en verdere Kenners der Muziek te berigten, dat hy zig te Amsterdam gestabileerd heeft, in Compagnieschap met zyn Broeder PIETER MEYER, tot voortzetten van dezelfde Affaires, in ‘t maaken van allerhande soorten van FORTEPIANO INSTRUMENTEN, door hem veel verbeterd, en verre overtreffende alle andere tot nog toe bekend; zy verzoeken ieders Gunst en Recommandatie. Hunne Woonplaats is op de Kolk, op den hoek van de Voorburgwal, by de Brug, te Amsterdam.“
The tremendous demand for the new Pianofortes made by Johannes Zumpe in England quickly reached the continent, allowing the two brothers to build a flourishing business in a short period. Their instruments were highly prized and enjoyed ever-increasing popularity. For some time the company held the privilege of court piano makers (Piano forte Fabrikeurs van hunne Majesteiten).
In 1796 the company expanded and a branch office was opened in Hamburg. It was located at Grosse Bleichen Nr. 304 and was operated there until 1813.
Meincke died around 1800 and his sons, as well as other relatives of the two brothers, worked in the company and became partial partners:
- Meincke (Michael) Andries Meyer (born: London 1767)
- Jan Lodewijk Meyer (born: London 1771)
- Hilmer (Hilmar) Meyer (born: January 1773 – died: Amsterdam August 20, 1816)
- Andreas Meyer (born: Hittfeld October 15, 1775 – died: Hamburg August 21, 1845) – from 1813 to 1850 Andreas Meyer’s own piano factory was listed at Neustadt’s Fuhlentwiete No. 121 in Hamburg, after remaining at the Hamburg location. His son joined this company around 1830.
Due to the high demand, the company needed larger premises and moved several times:
- 1781 • Op de hoek van de Kolk en N.Z. Voorburgwal
- 1781 • te May op den N. Dijk, het 14de huis van den Dam
- 1782 – 1786 • Op de Nieuwendijk, ‘t 14de huis van den Dam
- 1787 – 1788 • Op de Nieuwendijk, ‘t 13de huis van den Dam
- 1789 – 1806 • Op ‘t Rockin ‘t 4de huis van de Nauwe Kapelsteeg, 156.
- 1809 – 1810 • Op ‘t Rokin bij de Naauwe Kapelsteeg, 156.
- 1811 – 1818 • Op ‘t Rokin, bij het Valbruggetje, 175.
- 1819 • Op de Keizersgragt bij de Huidenstraat, 205.
- 1821 • M.A. Meyer, Keizersgr. bij de Leydschegr. 205.
- 1823 – 1831 • Rockin over de Nieuwezijdskapel No 50.
- 1835 – 1836 • Kerkstr. bij de Spiegelstr., 814.
Further preserved instruments by Meincke & Pieter Meyer:
- 1810 Tafelklavier – Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
- 1815 Tafelklavier – Royal Palace (Gemeentemuseum, The Hague) Amsterdam
|Circumference:||6 octaves (FF – f4)|
|Pedals:||1 pedal - dampers|
"M. & P. Meyer
Rokin No. 175