Heavily carved lyre and Serpentine legs with matching carvings in the African Rosewood case
Steinway Centennial Serpentine
This stunning piano is an 1877 Steinway Centennial ‘D’ rosewood concert grand – one of only about a hundred rosewood Centennial D’s in existence today.
This Steinway Serpentine has a heavily carved lyre and Serpentine legs with matching carvings in the case. The entire piano is clad in an African Rosewood veneer (which is virtually extinct today).
Over the years, we have had the good fortune to acquire three rosewood Centennial D’s. We rebuilt one and sold it to a private collector. We recently rebuilt another which is now on display in our White Plains showroom. We will begin to rebuild the third one shortly.
Our impeccably restored Centennial D rosewood Serpentine grands are wonderful instruments and striking works of art that are the pinnacle of American achievement in piano design and artistry.
The rosewood Centennial D is very similar in cabinetry to the earlier model 2 Steinway, an example of which is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
All brass lyre, and brass ferrules at the top & bottom of the tapered legs
Steinway designed two ‘Centennial’ pianos: First, a concert grand (the first model ‘D’) produced for several years beginning in 1876, the 100th anniversary of the American Declaration of Independence. Our Serpentine piano depicted above is one of these first Centennial Steinway models.
Second, the ‘M’ model produced in the early/mid-1950’s, made to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Steinway & Sons’ founding in 1851. This second Centennial design was a creation reminiscent of the Art Deco style but with a unique lyre that is a wonderful adornment. The piano’s music desk has a moderately peaked top, its arms have a nicely rounded shape and the similarly rounded legs are slightly tapered with brass ferrules at the top and the base. These gently curved elements frame perfectly the special lyre that is crafted entirely out of brass.
Heavily carved legs (two per corner), music desk, lyre, lid and case
Steinway Louis XVI
The Steinway Louis XVI style piano was produced in very limited numbers from around 1890-1910. What is particularly special about them is that each one was a unique creation. We’ve encountered a couple dozen of them, but we’ve seen no two that were alike.
Each corner of a Louis XVI Steinway piano has two to four legs that are straight and generally fluted or otherwise carved. Their crowns are prominent displays of floral and floral-like carvings. The music desks and lyres are carved to match, and the outer edges of the lids tend to be decorated with simply-crafted petals. The case is often gilded, is made of high quality veneers such as rosewood, Circassian walnut or African mahogany, and tends to be carved along the upper and lower edges and above the crowns of the legs.
The Steinway Model ‘A’ Louis XVI piano to the right was restored by us for a private client.
Victorian ‘Tulip’ style
Steinway produced Victorian-style pianos from the 1880’s until about 1910. They are notable for their elegant but understated case decorations and their boldly carved legs, lyres and music desks. We’ve rebuilt over 100 of these beautiful pianos, which
have become center pieces in a variety of homes across the country, and at any given time we have a handful of them on display in our showrooms. Here’s what we find most striking about these pianos:
The arms (or cheeks) of Victorian-style Steinways are rounded (as opposed to the square arms that predominate in more modern-style pianos). Many of the cases are banded with a double molding that hugs the outer edges of the round arms; others are decorated with a delicately carved curlicue” on the outer sides of the arms that spiral towards a fine single molding that bands the entire lower edge of the case.
The legs can be turned and fluted in an “ice cream cone” style, with substantial floral carvings on the crown; some are a “fire plug” style, reminiscent of Doric columns; others are carved in a delicate, octagonal, “tulip” style with curlicue decorations on the crown.
The music desks are either rounded with floral treatments, or heavily cutout, often with a large Steinway & Sons insignia centered on the flap.
The lyres are carved either in the straight, fluted, fireplug style, or in a rounded, floral style that compliments both the ice cream cone and tulip style piano legs.
Carved cabriole legs and lyre complement thepinstripe groove that frames the case and the music desk.
Steinway Queen Anne
Steinway’s Queen Anne style piano is both beautiful and rare. They were produced in very limited numbers primarily during the depression years (when overall piano production was a trickle); consequently, during the many years that we’ve been in business, we’ve seen only a few of them.
The Queen Anne furniture style was most popular in the years 1725-1760, shortly after Queen Anne’s reign. The style is simpler, lighter and more comfortable than predecessor styles, with elements that include the cabriole leg (curving gently outward at the top and inward farther down, ending in a simple, rounded foot), curved shapes and an emphasis on line and form rather than on the ornamentation that defined its predecessors (as well as some of its successors). The case and the music desk of the Steinway Queen Anne are gracefully framed with a pinstripe groove, while the trademark Steinway lyre matches beautifully the curves of the cabriole legs. All Steinway Queen Anne pianos are clad with premium-quality mahogany or walnut veneers.
Leg carving flows as if it is one-with the case
Steinway Louis XV
Steinway began producing its Louis XV style piano in the early 1900’s, decorating it with traditional French curves and intricate floral designs. The cases have delicately carved scallops on their lower edges, and carefully crafted notches that accept the crowns of the curved and carved legs. This arrangement has the wonderful effect of causing the legs to seem truly as one with the piano case. The music desk is gracefully carved with scalloped edges, and the piano lid has carved curves to match. The lyre is carved with curves and floral elements that match the crowns of the legs.
The earliest version of the Louis XV Steinway, produced primarily in the ‘A’ models has more severely curved legs than the more modern Louis XV pianos, which tend to be the somewhat smaller M and L models. All Louis XV style Steinway pianos have beautiful, premium-quality mahogany, cherry or walnut veneers.
We’ve rebuilt dozens of Steinway Louis XV style pianos over the years and tend to have one or more on hand at any given time.
Intricately detailed brass Ormolu across the entire case, legs and music desk
Steinway “Empire” style with Ormolu
We recently acquired this superb, turn-of-the-century, Steinway Model A “Empire” style piano, decorated with exquisitely designed and detailed brass Ormolu. The Empire style pianos produced by Steinway in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, of which this piano is a wonderful example, were one-of-a-kind “art cases”, unlike the abundantly produced Victorian style pianos that were the hallmark of the era or the heavily carved Rococo Style pianos.
This Steinway Empire style piano has a bold, angular and commanding architecture. It is abundantly embellished with unique intricately detailed brass Ormolu across its entire case, legs and music desk.
Twisted spindle legs, two at each corner, and curved ‘stretcher’ connecting the legs and the lyre
Steinway’s Jacobean style pianos were produced from around 1925-1945. The Jacobean style is named after King James I, with whose reign it is associated, and follows the Elizabethan style. Jacobean style Steinways are rare, but even rarer is the ‘English’ Jacobean Steinway, which is the most handsome of the group.
Steinway Jacobean pianos are distinguished by their twisted spindle legs, two at each corner, and a curved ‘stretcher’ connecting the lower portions of the legs and the lyre. The lyre is curved but carved more simply than most other curved Steinway lyres. The music desk and some of the other case parts have perimeters trimmed with fine wood inlay. The arms are starkly squared off – almost harpsichord-like – which is unusual in Steinway pianos. The piano shown here is clad in rich, dark mahogany.
The Steinway Jacobean ‘English’ style piano shown to the right was rebuilt by us a few years ago and sold to a private client.
Our first Colonial grand, flattering octagonal tapered legs and Steinway fallboard logo engraved in ivory
In the mid-twentieth century, Steinway crafted a small number of ‘Colonial’ style pianos. The legs on these pianos are rounded, minimally octagonal and tapered. The music desks are of a simple, straight line design, and case decorations are limited to minimal pinipes in the veneers, which are usually walnut. The ‘Steinway & Sons’ logo is elegantly engraved on a small ivory plaque attached to the center of the fallboard.
We have owned and refurbished several Colonial style upright pianos, but we only recently acquired our first Colonial grand.
Simple curves and carvings, and the distinctive Chippendale “ball and claw” foot grace both piano and bench
Steinway’s Chippendale style piano was produced in the mid-1900’s in the furniture style created by the British woodworker Thomas Chippendale in the mid 1700’s. Most Steinway Chippendale pianos are model M, but they can also be found as S and L models.
A major distinguishing characteristic of the Chippendale piano is the “ball and claw” foot, seen on each of the piano’s legs as well as in the matching bench. The piano also features gracefully curved arms, the trademark curved Steinway lyre and a unique desk with “cut out” curved lines. All Steinway Chippendale pianos are made with mahogany or walnut veneers.
We usually have one or more Steinway Chippendale’s on hand.
Round tapered legs and lyre, carved fluting music desk
Steinway’s Hepplewhite style piano is inspired by George Hepplewhite, one of the “big three” English furniture makers of the 18th century (along with Thomas Chippendale and Thomas Sheraton, whose designs also influenced the cabinetry crafted by Steinway). The Steinway Hepplewhite has a distinctively light and elegant appearance, just like the Hepplewhite creations of the late 1700’s which were also slender, curvilinear in shape and well balanced.
The design of this Hepplewhite piano would be a fine compliment to a wide range of formal decors; additionally, the contemporary slant in the design assures that it could also be a centerpiece in many modern settings. The piano’s lightweight, rectilinear form, offset by round, tapered and fluted legs is simple yet handsome. Its cherry veneer has a wonderful, distinguished character that sets it apart from the traditional walnut and mahogany veneers that clad most Steinway pianos.
This piano was fully regulated and meticulously cleaned and polished by our master artisans, bringing it to like-new condition.
Rounded off music desk, arms and legs with squared off lyre
Steinway Art Deco
Steinway’s Art Deco style pianos were produced in the early 1930’s until the late 1940’s and were designed by Arthur Dorwin Teague. They were mostly made as smaller grands, models ‘S’ and ‘M’.
The Steinway Art Deco piano shown here is one of the simplest of the Art Deco designs. Its music desk is rounded at the corners, but otherwise very plain, matching the appearance of the arms, which are similarly rounded. The legs are straight, square and slightly tapered with rounded edges that compliment the lyre that is also squared off with rounded edges. A distinguishing feature of this Art Deco piano is that its metal parts are all nickel plated (instead of being made of brass as is standard in other Steinways of the era). The nickel-plated Steinway nameplate on the fallboard and the nickel-colored harp both add a special touch to the piano. We recently restored this Steinway Art Deco piano.
Unique Art Deco design with unified leg & lyre assembly; pictures before and after restoration
Steinway Art Deco
Rare design by Arthur Dorwin Teague.
In the late 1930’s, renowned designer Walter Dorwin Teague was commissioned by Steinway & Sons to design a special, limited edition Art Deco piano. Steinway built at least one of these pianos, which came to grace the lounge of a luxury cruise liner that sailed between New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro.
We were fortunate to be able to acquire the piano, although it was in great disrepair, having been subjected to years of high humidity. We showed it to a client who recognized its historical significance. He then consulted with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and brought one of its curators to examine the piano, as well as our factory (to assess the quality of our rebuilding processes). Our client then pre-purchased the piano from us knowing that we would meticulously rebuild it (inside and out) to its full original grandeur. Once the restoration work was completed and the piano was delivered to his home, we were informed that arrangements were made for it to ultimately join the keyboard collection at the Museum.
This piano would be a terrific addition to the Museum’s collection. In the meantime, we can enjoy the ‘before and after’ pictures.
Original Arts & Crafts piano before and after restoration
Steinway Arts & Crafts
A small number of Arts & Crafts style pianos were produced by Steinway in the 1930’s. The style is simple in form and with minimal decoration (partly a reaction against the ornate styles of the day).
Soon after we rebuilt and sold the Teague piano illustrated above, we acquired one of the Arts & Crafts Steinway pianos and almost immediately saw a way to transform it into a replica of the Teague piano. We explained our idea to a client who was seeking an unusual Steinway and after visiting our factory and being impressed with the high restoration quality she commissioned us to perform the work. We removed the legs and the lyre from the Arts & Crafts piano, modified the case, and custom-built a new leg and lyre system with brace that replicated the system on the Teague piano.
The piano that we produced is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that is a testament to the remarkable woodworking skills and knowhow of our master craftsmen. Our client was thrilled.