The royal rosewood boudoir grand piano, model number 22,204, was made by leading 19th century piano maker John Broadwood & Sons and delivered to Buckingham Palace on November 11, 1887, for the queen’s personal use. It is a model 13B and features turned and carved feet, a decorative lyre, scrolled music desk and solid brass fittings throughout.
It remained with her for the next five years before being passed a former lady in waiting, ‘Mrs F Boston’, on the occasion of her marriage.
Eight years ago, an Oxfordshire couple rediscovered the piano in the aisle of a local church where it had been used for choir practice and amateur recitals. The instrument is now on offer at the antique and historic piano dealership Sherwood Phoenix where it is expected to be purchased for a high six-figure sum.
“This piano is such a one-off with such an incredible provenance,” says Sherwood Phoenix founder Stephen Pringle, “Objects with similar provenance have attracted serious money. In 2009 Harrods was offering Queen Victoria’s billiard table for $1.6m, whereas even her undergarments made £16,250 at a Christie’s auction in 2016.”
A love affair
The piano was later hired by Marie Fillunger, the world-famous soprano, who carried on a long affair with Eugenie Schumann, seventh child and youngest daughter of composers Robert and Clara Schumann. Eugenie played it for several seasons in London while she was living with Fillunger in Kensington.
“I can see this piano going to a modern-day royal family, serious collector or, perhaps, to a great female performer on the international circuit,” Pringle added.