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A group surrounds a harpsichord playing instruments

Many members of the royal family were talented musicians

S & P Erard

Grand piano 1856

Gilded, painted and varnished mahogany, satinwood and pine with brass and gilt bronze mounts | 95.7 x 142.2 x 243.8 cm | RCIN 2426

White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace

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This Erard grand piano was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1856 and was intended as a showpiece to form part of the furnishings of the state rooms. The gilded case is decorated in the French early 18th century style with cherubs and singeries – comical scenes involving monkeys playing musical instruments and making mischief. Queen Victoria owned a piano decorated in a similar manner almost twenty years earlier. In her diary of 5 March 1839, she wrote, ‘Lord Melbourne admired the new painted piano I have in the drawing-room, and said, ‘I like those monkeys on it.’’

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