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Case study

Conserving the Erard Piano

This magnificent piano was showing signs of wear and tear

The Erard Piano

The Erard piano came into the conservation workshops for a major clean and repair prior to the Victoria and Albert exhibition which was held in The Queen’s Gallery, 2010.

The decoration of the piano is made up of a water gilded surface, with elaborate oil painted scenes to the lids and sides and finished off with a varnish.

The main challenge was to remove the substantial surface dirt that had collected on the two main lids and the upper surfaces during the piano’s lifetime (it was purchased by Queen Victoria in 1856). There were also large areas of loss to the varnish on the lids where damage had occurred over time.


Find out even more about this magnificent piano with this short film.


Related exhibition
Victoria & Albert: Art & Love

The first exhibition to focus on Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s shared enthusiasm for art

Object featured in this case study

Find out more in our Online Collection

S & P Erard
Grand piano 1856
  • White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace
RCIN 2426

Grand piano with gilded and painted surface by François Rochard in polychrome colours with singeries and Berainesque motifs. Mouldings and rim of piano of bronze, chased and gilt. Supported on three incurving cabriole legs of gilded wood with heavy floral garlands and carved at the top with two scrolls flanking a prominent flower. Pedal section...

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Cog being picked up by tweasers