Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Piano Wars: The Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795–1806

  • George S. Bozarth, Margaret Debenham and David Cripps

Abstract

In the years 1801–6 a series of lawsuits were filed in various London courts involving many of England's top piano manufacturers. Swirling around a lawsuit by the Anglo-Irish piano inventor William Southwell against John and James Shudi Broadwood for infringement of his seminal 1794 patent were actions involving the opportunistic James Longman, his brother John Longman, his partner Francis Fane Broderip, and his successors, Muzio Clementi & Co., as well as George Astor, the firm of Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow, August Leukfeld, and George Wilkinson. In this article the authors reconstruct the issues and outcomes of these legal actions and their ramifications for William Southwell, who emerges as a victim of his own inventive success, and the nascent English piano industry. We draw upon the original court papers, as well as a family memoir of Southwell, the parish record of his burial in 1825, the 1802 partnership agreement of Southwell & Co., contemporary newspaper notices, prison records, apprenticeship records, the wills of several of the makers, and newly located original drawings and descriptions for patents by Southwell (1794) and his son, William junior (1837), held at The National Archives, Kew.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
1

From the outset the authors wish to thank Michael Cole for all his groundbreaking research on early English pianos—published on his website <www.squarepianos.com> and in two books, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era (Oxford, 1998) and Broadwood Square Pianos (Cheltenham, 2005)—and for his generous assistance with our project. We gratefully acknowledge the research on court cases involving early English piano makers and other important documents by Jenny Nex, in her article ‘Culliford and Company: Keyboard Instrument Makers in Georgian London’, Early Keyboard Journal, 22 (2004), 7–47, and David Rowland, in his chapter ‘Clementi's Early Business Career: New Documents’ in Muzio Clementi. Cosmopolita della Musica. Atti del convegno internazionale in occasione del 250° anniversario delta nascita (1752–2002). Roma 4–6 Dicembre 2002, ed. Richard Bösel and Massimiliano Sala (Bologna, 2004), 49–59.

Footnotes

References

Hide All

2 The dates ‘1756–1842’ given for Southwell in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd edn, London, 2001, and on-line <www.grovemusic.com> accessed on 31 July 2007) and other secondary literature are incorrect. The basis for the authors’ revised dates is provided in note 95; corrections of other errors and misperceptions concerning Southwell's life and work will appear in their forthcoming article on this important figure in the history of the piano and his interesting family, which included the composer F.W. Southwell, the instrument makers Nicholas and John Southwell and William Southwell junior, the actor Henry Southwell, and the Free-Thinker Charles Southwell, as well as the Southwell Brothers, photographers to Queen Victoria.

3 Letter from Frederick Southwell Cripps to William Cripps, 22 January 1911; quoted from a copy in the possession of David Cripps. The current location of the original document is unknown.

4 Since court documents only record the date of submission, and since some of these cases may never have actually been resolved by judicial decision, it is often not possible to tell how long a case went on. When Thomas Erskine became Lord High Chancellor in 1806, the equity lawyer Samuel Romilly noted that he inherited ‘the immense arrears of business left by his tardy and doubting predecessor’, Lord Eldon; see Stryker, LloydPaul, For the Defense: Thomas Erskine, the Most Enlightened Liberal of his Times (Garden City, NY, 1949), 412.

5 John Small, ‘J.C. Bach Goes to Law’, Musical Times, 126 (1985), 526–9, which is also our source for James Longman's birth date. Small's article chronicles the precedent-setting copyright lawsuit of Johann Christian Bach against James Longman and Charles Lukey for pirating his music. On the court cases concerning the right to publish certain works by Joseph Haydn, see Nancy A. Mace, ‘Haydn and the London Music Sellers: Forster v. Longman & Broderip’, Music & Letters, 77(1996), 527–41.

6 The Chancellor was a senior and most important functionary in the government, a member of the Privy Council and the Cabinet, and a Great Officer of State. He sat in the House of Lords and presided there over impeachment cases.

7 Stryker, For the Defense, 411.

8 Stryker, For the Defense, 412.

9 Stryker, For the Defense, 412. Samuel Romilly wrote in his memoirs that Erskine's ‘practice has never led him into courts of equity’.

10 Encyclopaedia Britannica, ‘Common Law’ and ‘Court of Common Pleas’. The Judicature Act of 1873 replaced the three common-law courts, as well as equity jurisdiction, with the Supreme Court of Judicature, which is still the court of general jurisdiction in England and Wales.

11 On James Longman's early history see London Apprenticeship Abstracts 1442–1850 <www.originsnetwork.com>, a database of transcripts of original records held at the Guildhall Library, City of London; accessed on 8 August 2007. An entry dated 1760 shows James Longman, son of Joseph of Corton Denham, Somerset (doulas maker), apprenticed to John Johnson of the Cooks Company, City of London. A similar entry appears in the index to apprenticeship tax records kept by the Inland Revenue: ‘Longman, Jas to John Johnson cit and coop £105'. Apprentices of Great Britain 1710–1774 Index: 3645 22/118 <www.originsnetwork.com>, accessed on 8 August 2007. This latter set of records gives the date on which the apprenticeship tax was paid, which by law was not more than one year after the apprenticeship was completed, and so suggests that James Longman probably completed his apprenticeship in about 1760. John Johnson died in 1761 and appears to have been succeeded by his widow for some years. Ian Maxted, The London Book Trades of the Later 18th Century, cites a newspaper report of his death: ‘Johnson, John. On Friday [15 May] died Mr. John Johnson, musical instrument seller, in Cheapside’ (Daily Advertiser 18 May 1761); see <www.devon.gov.uk/localstudies/121390/l.html>, accessed on 23 August 2007.

12 On 12 January 1774, in West Drayton Parish, Middlesex, Francis Fane Broderip married Anne Longman, so he may have had a family connection to James Longman; Middlesex Parish Registers, Marriages (London, 1909–38), ii, 145–57.

13 Peter Ward Jones, Peter Williams, and Charles Mould, ‘Longman & Broderip’, New Grove 2, xv, 168.

14 In a court document of 7 February 1796, Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow complained that Longman & Broderip had charged them £59 14s. for the costs of procuring this patent, which Longman & Broderip had caused to be procured and from which they ‘reaped the sole advantage’; see Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 3, lines 40–1.

15 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 72.

16 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 78. At that time John Geib was in the employ of pianoforte maker Thomas Culliford (see next paragraph).

17 On Thomas Culliford (1747–1821), see Nex, Jenny, ‘Culliford and Company’. In 1784 Culliford established a fourteen-year partnership with William Rolfe, John Goldsworth, and Thomas Bradford. In 1787 Goldsworth left the company to start a new business with John Geib. According to Culliford, this was ‘at the particular request and solicitation of the said James Longman and Francis Fane Broderip’; see Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 1, lines 29–30. Two years later Thomas Bradford was replaced by Culliford's son-in-law, Charles Barrow. In September 1797 Culliford and Barrow set up the firm Culliford & Co., while William Rolfe established his own company (The London Gazette, 14 October 1797, 990 and 17 October 1797, 1001). Three notices placed in The London Gazette in the spring of 1793 report the dissolution of the partnership between Geib and Goldsworth on 30 March 1793, shortly followed by Goldsworth's bankruptcy (The London Gazette, 2 April 1793, 273; 23 April 1793, 333; and 21 May 1793, 428).

18 Longman & Broderip owned the premises in Fountain Court and charged Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow £70 per annum in rent (Appendix 1, Document 7, f. 3, line 40). According to the insurance records consulted by Jenny Nex (‘Culliford and Company’, 15–16), Culliford opened timber yards on Jewin Street in 1782 and established workshops, offices, a sawpit, and a smith's shop in Pelican Court, Little Britain, Aldersgate Street in 1784, while still renting part of the Fountain Court property. According to Michael Cole (Broadwood Square Pianos, 79), after the Fountain Court premises proved too small, Culliford built pianos in the factory that Longman & Broderip opened in the Tottenham Court Road, opposite Whitefield's Chapel, but Nex holds that the factories of Culliford & Co. and Longman & Broderip were separate (p. 24), the companies independent of each other (p. 22). The answer of Culliford and Rolfe (see Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 3, lines 41–4) confirms Nex's position:

And these Defendants were also put to Great expence [sic] in erecting Workshops in Pelican Court Little Britain Aldergate Street in the City of London and which these defendants [sic] were afterward obliged to sell and dispose of at a great loss and were also put to further expence in providing a Warehouse in Red Lion Court Watling Street in the said City of London for the purpose of making the said Instruments and carrying on their Business and for which the last named Complainants never made these Defendants any Allowance whatever, nor did they ever erect any building or place for these Defendants but what they these Defendants paid them for as aforesaid.

Nex (pp. 22–3) further reports that 'In contrast, the piano maker John Geib worked for Longman & Broderip under the “putting-out system”, whereby Longman and Broderip provided him with all the necessary materials for making musical

19 Jenny Nex, ‘Culliford and Company’ 17–18; see Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 2, lines 34–6.

20 Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 2, lines 36–8.

21 Michael Cole, <www.squarepianos.com/longman.htm>. accessed on 7 July 2007. These improvements to the escapement could have been among the ‘improvements and additions, which were invented by [Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow] and principally by … William Rolfe’ mentioned in a court document of 7 February 1796; Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 3, line 38.

22 Michael Cole, <www.squarepianos.com/longman.htm>, accessed on 7 July 2007.

23 The National Archives, B1/93, pp. 6873, submitted to Lord Loughborough in Chancery Court; see Appendix 1, Document 10.

24 This document was a response to a complaint filed by Longman and Broderip on 7 November 1795 in which they alleged that Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow had been overcharging them and selling instruments to others, in violation of the exclusivity clause in their contract; see Appendix 1, Document 4. A Bill of Exchange is a kind of check or promissory note without interest, in this case a written order by one person to pay another a specific sum on a specific date sometime in the future. See <www.fraudaid.com/Dictionary-of-Financial-Scam-terms/bill_of_exchange.htm>, accessed on 11 July 2007.

25 According to Frederick Southwell Cripps letter to William Cripps of 22 January 1911 (copy in the possession of David Cripps; current location unknown), Southwell, ‘when still quite young, made a beautiful model of a grand staircase’, which would have demonstrated considerable mastery of carpentry, staircases being difficult to build.

26 From Weber's account books we know that between 1764 and 1783 he had eighty-seven clients for his keyboard instruments, and between 1764 and 1780 built seven pianos (as well as ten harpsichords and one spinet). He charged between £14 15s. 9d. and £20 9s. 6d. for a piano, which was considerably less than what he asked for a harpsichord, £22 15s. to £38 8s. (the wide range of prices probably corresponding to single- vs. double-manual instruments, with or without Venetian swell). According to Jenny Nex and Lance Whitehead, in 2000 only one Weber piano (private owner, New York) had been identified; ‘A Copy of Ferdinand Weber's Account Book’, The Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle, 33 (2000), 89150. This may be the same instrument bequeathed to the Metropolitan Museum, New York by Murtough D. Guiness in 2002, which is also said to be the only surviving example; Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (New York, 2004), 63/2, 23.

27 At least nine of these pianos, and possibly more, have been sighted in the last eighty years. Southwell demi-lune pianofortes can be found in the Cobbe Foundation Collection of Keyboard Instruments, Hatchlands Park, Surrey; the Ulster Museum; the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin; and in private collections in Great Britain (at least two) and the United States. We wish to thank Michael Cole for sharing with us information about and photographs of these lovely instruments. For colour photographs of demi-lune commodes and pier tables with similar decorations by Moore and Wisdom, see the subchapter on William Moore in the Knight of Glin (Desmond FitzGerald) and James Peill, Irish Furniture: Woodwork and Carving in Ireland from the Earliest Times to the Act of Union (New Haven, 2007), 162–7. William Moore, who was apparently a native of Dublin, studied in London in the workshop of John Mayhew and William Ince, who worked with Robert Adam in developing the neo-classical style of interior design. By the end of 1777 he had returned to Dublin and established himself as a cabinetmaker and inlayer. Based on ‘the idiosyncratic use of burr-yew veneer’ in both Moore's furniture and the Southwell demi-lune piano in the Ulster Museum, Belfast, FitzGerald and Peill suggest that Moore made the cases for Southwell's pianos of this type (p. 166). The close similarity of the lid design on this piano to the top of the John Wisdom pier table in their illustration 228 (p. 167) demonstrates that more makers than just William Moore employed this design. It is clear, though, from an advertisement in the Dublin Evening Post (19 December 1789), quoted in full on p. 165, that Moore oversaw a ‘Pianoforte and Harpsichord Manufactory’ as part of his ‘Inlaid Furniture’ business, first at 22 Abbey Street, and from 1789 at 47 Capel Street. FitzGerald and Peill maintain that William Southwell was born in Dublin (p. 166), but offer no evidence in support of this assertion.

28 Chart, D.A., ‘Gradual Progress and Conciliation’, The Story of Dublin (London, 1907), xii, 1; <www.chaptersofdublin.com/books/Chart/history12.htm>, accessed on 24 October 2007.

29 The term of fourteen years reflects this philosophy, since it equals the length of two seven-year apprenticeships, sufficient time to train a new generation in the use of the invention.

30 Southwell seems to have experimented early on with other methods of lifting the dampers. The fanciful brass dampers on his demi-lune pianos have already been described. The five-octave Southwell square piano belonging to one of the authors, mentioned above, appears to have had over-dampers mounted on a movable double-rail mechanism very similar to that found in mid- and late nineteenth-century Viennese grand pianos. All of the dampers could be lifted by a knee or foot pedal, without effecting the dip of the key.

31 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 71.

32 The cloth dampers on English pianofortes, both squares and grands, never were as efficient in stopping string vibration as the leather-faced dampers on Viennese fortepianos. This ‘wet’ sound was considered a virtue, though, not a drawback, because it added a lovely haze of resonance to the instruments that recalled the popular Pantaleon, a large hammered dulcimer invented by Pantaleon Halberstreit that become the rage at the French, Viennese, and Saxon courts and elsewhere early in the eighteenth century. The English considered the well-damped Viennese fortepianos too dry.

33 David Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, (London, 1982), 75.

34 In the early summer of 1794 Broadwood made the first six-octave grand (probably No. 607); Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, 76. The oldest surviving Broadwood grand with six octaves known to Michael Cole is dated 1796: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, 134.

35 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 70.

36 Some Notes Made by J.S. Broadwood, 1838, with Observations & Elucidations by H.F. Broadwood, 1862 (London, 1862), 9.

37 Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, 105.

38 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 70–1.

39 In an inventory appended to a statement filed in the Court of the Exchequer on 7 February 1796 (see Appendix 1, Document 8, f. 3), Culliford, Rolfe & Barrow admitted to having already build three ‘double Actioned Piano Fortes with additional keys‘—square pianos with Geib's action and Southwell's extension of range—in 1793, which their firm sold to two parties (Messrs Linteins and Messrs Bishop & Southgate), in violation of their 1786 contract with Longman & Broderip in which they had agreed not to market pianos on their own. So it is entirely possible that Southwell's inventions were by 1793 already being used by others, with or without his permission, giving him good reason to seek a patent.

40 The National Archives, Kew, C13/29/34; see Appendix 1, Document 13, f. 1, lines 1215.

41 The same advertisement appeared in the 30 January 1795 issue of The Times (950130, p. 1, col. A). Longman & Broderip also offered ‘the Patent Grand Piano-Forte and Harpsichord, which has the Effect of Two Instruments in one Body or Case. Patent Grand and Small Piano-Fortes, with and without the additional keys. Piano-Fortes without the Patent Action. Pedal Harps, of the newest Construction. Harpsichords of every Description. Barrel, Chamber, and Church Organs. Military, and every other kind of Musical Instruments.‘ In 1792 James Davis in England patented an instrument with two keyboards, the upper one for a piano, the lower one for a harpsichord (patent No. 1743); Rosamund E.M. Harding, The Piano-Forte: Its History Traced to the Great Exhibition of 1851 (2nd edn, Old Woking, Surrey, 1978), 350.

42 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 79.

43 The National Archives, Kew, B 4/24, entry No. 84; see Appendix 1, Document 3. An announcement of the bankruptcy appears in The London Gazette on 25 May 1795, 522–3, together with a reassurance from Longman & Broderip that their ‘Business is carried on as usual … and all Orders will be punctually attended to’ (p. 518). New Grove 2 incorrectly places this bankruptcy in 1798, which was when the bankrupt company was sold.

44 Announced in The London Gazette, 6 June 1795, 592.

45 Longman & Broderip were ordered by the bankruptcy commission to ‘surrender themselves’ on 25 August 1795 ‘and make a full Discovery and Disclosure of their Estate and Effects, and finish their Examination’; The London Gazette, 4 July 1795, 711.

46 According to the prison arrest document for Longman and Broderip (13 November 1795; The National Archives, Kew, PRIS1/16/001: entry No. 7579, see Appendix 1, Document 5), there were two other claims filed against them for smaller amounts, by James Pearce and by Joseph Spooner, administrator of Joseph Spooner, deceased.

47 The National Archive, Kew, E112/1787/6238; see Appendix 1, Document 12, f. 1, lines 1727.

48 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 79.

49 The Times, 13 June 1795, 1. For a facsimile of the business card, see Nex, ‘Culliford and Company’, 26.

50 The National Archives, Kew, E112/1771/5631; see Appendix 1, Document 4.

51 Nex, ‘Culliford and Company’, 29.

52 The English Reports, 144:974, Nos. 645, 646; see Appendix 1, Document 6.

53 The Times, issue 3498, p. 1, col. A.

54 The Times, issue 3508, p. 1, col. C.

55 The National Archive, Kew, CP41/163, part 2, quoted in full in Appendix 2 of Nex, ‘Culliford and Company’, 41–4; see Appendix 1, Document 7.

56 According to Jenny Nex's transcription (‘Culliford and Company’, 44), the tally at the end of the court document lists damages of £595 2s. 9d., costs of £2, and an ‘Increase’.

57 The National Archive, Kew, E112/1771/5631; see Appendix 1, Document 8.

58 The legal papers for this case (cited as Document 9 in our Appendix 1) have yet to be located, but reference to the case is made in The National Archives E112/1737/6238 (see Appandix A, Document 12, f. 1, lines 33–5).

59 The National Archives E112/1787/6238; see Appendix 1, Document 15.

60 To secure Longman's portion, his wife, who had some property of her own, offered it as a guarantee (see note 78 concerning her status).

61 The National Archives, Kew, C13/29/34. Quoted by dementi & Co.; see Appendix 1, Document 16, f. 1, lines 1317.

62 The English Reports, 145:994. Longman & Broderip was represented by Anthony Hart, Culliford by Samuel Romilly. The judge was Sir Archibald Macdonald; see Appendix 1, Document 6.

63 The London Gazette, 30 October 1798, 1046. The bankruptcy proceedings lasted nearly three years, the final dividend being paid to creditors on 9 June 1801. The London Gazette, 4 December 1798, 1177; 23 February 1799, 195; 25 May 1799, 513; 16 May 1801, 556.

64 The bankruptcy commission began deliberations on ‘whether it will be for the Benefit of the said Bankrupts Estate for the Assignees to carry on the Business any further, and to what Time’, at least as early as 6 April 1797. At that meeting they also were to discuss a resolution ‘to authorize and empower the said Assignees to sell and dispose of the Stock and good Will of the Houses and Manufactories at Cheapside, the Haymarket and Tottenham-Court Road, either together or separate, by private Contract, to any Person or Persons who may come forward to purchase the same.‘ See The London Gazette, 28 March 1797, 303.

65 The National Archives, Kew, C12/2415/7; see Appendix 1, Documents 26 and 27. A full discussion of these documents appears below.

66 The London Gazette, 12 January 1805, 71; and 15 January 1805, 85.

67 Henry Broadhurst Wilkinson, Souvenir of the Broadhurst Wilkinsons: Descendents of Joseph Edmondson Esq. F.S.A., Mowbray Herald Extraordinary 1764 (Manchester, 1902), 22. (Copy in Family History Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.)

68 Mace, ‘Haydn and the London Music Sellers’, 537.

69 The London Gazette, 2 April 1799, 319, announced that the assignees disposed of ‘the Stock and Trade’ of Longman & Broderip on 1 November 1798.

70 An entry from the Inland Revenue apprenticeship records possibly relates to this John Longman: ‘1757 Longman, Jn to Wm Longman of Milbornport lin, weaver £21.‘ Apprentices of Great Britain 1710–1774 Index, 3645: 21/73.

71 The National Archives, Kew, quoted in C13/29/34; see Appendix 1, Document 16, f. 1, lines 5961.

72 The distinguished jurist and politician William Draper Best (1767–1845) subsequently served as Solicitor General (1813–16) and Attorney General (1816–18) to the Prince of Wales, and as a Judge (1819–24) and then Chief Justice (1824–29) of the Court of Common Pleas. He was knighted in 1819 and admitted to the Privy Council in 1824. Raised to the peerage in 1829 as Baron Wynford, he later served as a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords. Samuel Compton Cox became a Master in Chancery and Treasurer of the Foundling Hospital.

73 Notice of the dissolution, dated 24 April 1801, was published in The London Gazette, 12 May 1801, 542. John Longman opened his own shop at 131 Cheapside, at some point entering into a partnership with Thomas Thompson that lasted until its dissolution on 5 April 1805; The London Gazette, 2 April 1805, 441. He remained in business until about 1816. His successor, Giles Longman, was in partnership with James Herron as ‘Longman & Herron’ until 1822; ‘Longman & Broderip’, New Grove 2. Michael Cole (The Pianoforte in the Classical Era, 108) says that John Longman was ‘more in the nature of a music seller’ and ‘his best instruments were made in the workshop in which Clementi's pianos were fabricated’. It is however possible that there may have been two John Longmans. James Longman's brother John lived in Milborne Port, Somersetshire, a long way from London, and it is clear from the court case material reported here that he was little more than a ‘sleeping partner’ in the firm of Longman, Clementi and Co. However, a patent was granted to John Longman of Penton Street, Pentonville, on 27 January 1801 for ‘certain new Improvements in the Construction of Barrel Organs’; The Repertory of Arts and Manufactures: Consisting of Original Communications, Specifications of Patent Inventions and Selections of Useful Practical Papers from the Transactions of the Philosophical Societies of All Nations, & & (Nichols and Son, London 1801, 367, LVIII). This raises the question of who in fact ran the Cheapside business after 1801. One possibility is that John (brother of James) was also a ‘sleeping partner’ in the Cheapside business. The Giles Longman, a pianoforte tuner, aged 65, listed in the 1841 census as living in Old Burlington Street, Westminster, London, may have been one of sons of Frances St. John, James Longman's ‘wife’ (see note 78), in which case his uncle, John Longman, may have provided financial backing to his twenty-five-year-old nephew to run a shop bearing his uncle's name.

74 The information in this section was drawn from detailed information contained in The National Archives, Kew, C13/29/34; see Appendix 1, Documents 13 and 16.

75 Case referred to in The National Archives, Kew, E112/1787/6238; see Appendix 1, Document 12, f. 1, lines 4551.

76 The National Archives, Kew, E112/1787/6238; see Appendix 1, Document 12. The London Gazette, 8 December 1801, 1469, reports ‘the said Assignees defending Two Suits in the Court of Exchequer, commenced against them by the said Bankrupts’ Longman and Broderip’, as well as ‘a Suit in the Court of Chancery [Equity], commenced against them by the Reverend Edward Butcher and others, Trustees under the Marriage Settlement made upon Sarah the Wife of the said Josiah Banger ….’ The London Gazette, 23 March 1802, 312, reports still another ‘Suit in Equity commenced by the Executors of John Wood, Esq; deceased, to compel them to execute a Conveyance of the said Bankrupts’ Interest in an Estate at Ardwick, near Manchester, in the County of Lancaster; and also to the compromising the said Suit, should an Opportunity Offer, upon Terms they may deem beneficial for the Bankrupts' Estate.’ The authors have not located record of the second Exchequer suit or either of the Equity suits. The London Gazette, 18 June 1803, 731, documents a meeting of the creditors and the assignees ‘to assent to or dissent from the said Assignees making any and what Allowance to Mr. Josiah Banger, one of the said Assignees, for his Services and Expences during the Time the Bankrupts’ Trade was carried on’, probably as part of a settlement for the case brought in 1801.

77 The National Archives, Kew, E112/1787/6238; see Appendix 1, Document 15.

78 According to Jenny Nex, James Longman married Elizabeth Tomkyns in 1775 (record for James Longman in London Music Trades 1750–1800: A Database, London: Centre for Performance History, Royal College of Music <http://lmt.rcm.ac.uk/>, accessed on 20 June 2008). However, his will (see Appendix 8) makes it clear that his long-term partner was Frances St John, whom he names as the mother of his two living children and who is also cited as his executrix in a later court document that we shall discuss. Longman's will tells us that St John was a pseudonym, her actual surname being Lofties or Loftis (both spellings appear in the will). Because she was his partner, not his wife, she would have been able to hold assets in her own name.

79 The National Archives, Kew, C13/29/34; see Appendix 1, Document 13. It appears that the Schedule submitted with these court documents detailing the amounts Longman owed to Styan, Hovill, and James individually no longer accompanies these papers.

80 The National Archives, Kew, C13/29/34; see Appendix 1, Document 16.

81 The National Archive, Kew, C13/46–002; see Appendix 1, Document 25, f. 1, lines 2730.

82 This partnership agreement provides the only evidence that the company sold grand pianos at that time. No grand piano with a Southwell label survives, and William Southwell senior registered no patents for grand pianos (his son William's 1837 patent will be discussed below).

83 The partnership document is preserved at the Registry of Deeds in Dublin book No. 551, pages 111–12, memorandum No. 362400; see Appendix 1, Document 14. The company is listed in Wilson's Dublin Directory at No. 34, Marlborough Street from 1804 to 1814, and in the Liverpool Trade Directory for 1805 on Duke Street. In William Southwell's 1811 patent his London address is given as Gresse Street, off Rathbone Place and Oxford Street. Gresse Street connected through Stephen Street to the Tottenham Court Road. The location is just across Oxford Street from Soho Square, which had been a centre of musical activity since the early years of the eighteenth century. In the years 1804–6, John Southwell was still listed in Wilson's Dublin Directory as a music seller at 17 North Earl Street, where he had been since 1803. There is no mention of John in the 1807–14 directories, since he was a partner in William Southwell & Co. In the years 1815–21 he was listed as the sole proprietor at 34 Marlborough Street, and in 1822 John was at 9 Marlborough Street.

84 The National Archives, Kew, C13/2404–01; see Appendix 1, Document 18.

85 The National Archives, Kew, C13/2404–02; see Appendix 1, Document 19.

86 See Broadwood square piano No. 6928, dated ‘1802‘, described in Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 129.

87 See the letter from James Shudi Broadwood to Thomas Bradford of Charleston, 13 November 1793; Some Notes wade by J.S. Broadwood, 1838, with Observations & Elucidations by H.F. Broadwood, 1862, 9. The earliest five-and-a-half octave Broadwood square known to Michael Cole is dated ‘1796‘; in the late 1790s Broadwood sold its five-and-a-half octave square pianos for 25 Guineas (Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 71).

88 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 71.

89 The National Archives, Kew C13/46–02; see Appendix 1, Document 25, f. 1, lines 28–9.

90 See Broadwood square piano No. 9837, dated ‘1806, ‘ described in Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 130.

91 Cole, Broadwood Square Pianos, 92. By this time John Gcib was living in America and unable to assert his patent.

92 One of the authors owns such an instrument dating from 1820.

93 A trade flyer, engraved by R. Williamson, 8 Brook Street, West Square, and depicting two pianos and their end profiles, advertises ‘A New Patent Cabinet Piano Forte. The superior Qualities it possesses … NB. Wilkinson & Comp'y, the Proprietors of the above Patent Piano Forte … engage to keep those sold in Town in tune and repair for Twelve Months … It may be necessary to add that the Patent Cabinet Piano Fortes are finished under the immediate inspection of the Inventor Willm. Southwell at their Manufactory No. 3 Windmill Street & at No. 13 Haymarket’ (sold by Grosvenor Prints, 19 Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9JN; <www.grosvenorprints.com/tc.htm>, accessed on 9 January 2006). Windmill Street was two blocks long, with its southwest end just one block from the north end of Rathbone Place and intersecting with the Tottenham Court Road. In an advertisement in The Times 7758 (25 August 1809), 2, col. A, the address is given as 3 Great Windmill Street, perhaps to distinguish it from the other Windmill Street in central London. Wilkinson & Co. was in business 1807–10.

94 Charles Southwell, The Confessions of a Freethinker (London: Printed for the Author, c 1851), 5, and letter to George Jacob Holyoake, from Bristol gaol, dated 3 April 1842 (Letters from Charles Southwell to George Jacob Holyoake; Folio 36, unpublished material held in The Co-operative College Archives, Manchester). George Jacob Holyoake, ‘Some of the Principal Adversaries’, The History of Co-operation (London, 1906), I, XI, erroneously stated that William Southwell had thirty-six children; <www.gerald-massey.org.uk/holyoake/c_co-operation%20(05).htm>, accessed on 24 October 2007.

95 Burial Register of St. Pancras Old Church, London, p. 267 No. 126: William Southwell, Gresse Street aged 88; there is also an entry in the Burial Fees Book (see Appendix 1, Document 31). William Southwell's youngest son Charles remembered a telling incident on his father's final day:

On the bed of death, as in the haunts of life, … how little he dreaded the King of Terrors was manifest to all who were with him at that trying hour. He died with a jest in his mouth, for the lower extremities having mortified some hours before ‘the spirit took its flight, ’ and one of the nurses (an uncommonly nice woman) having tried to rub life into his dead limbs, he said, with the peculiarly expressive twinkle of the eye I can never forget, ‘Ah, you may do that now, but let me tell you it would not have been safe to do it a little while ago.’ (Southwell, The Confessions of a Free-Thinker, 6.)

96 The National Archives, Kew, C/13/29; see Appendix 1, Document 17.

97 The National Archives, Kew, C13/29–003, and C13/29–004 (submitted by William Wingfield), respectively; see Appendix 1, Documents 20 and 22. Peter Batson, William Harbin, William Bennett, and Samuel Foot, all of Sherborne, Dorset, were empowered to take John Longman's statement.

98 The National Archives, Kew, C13/333, submitted by G.B. Roupell; see Appendix 1, Document 21.

99 The National Archives, Kew, Prob 11/1405; see Appendix 1, Document 24.

100 The National Archives, Kew, C13/46–001 and 002, respectively. John Leach represented the plaintiffs, G.B. Roupell, the defendants; see Appendix 1, Documents 23 and 25.

101 The National Archives, Kew, C13/46–002, lines 22–9.

102 The National Archives, Kew, C13/2415/7 f.l and 2. John Raithby represented the plaintiffs, Anthony Hart, the defendant; see Appendix 1, Documents 26 and 27.

103 The London Gazette, 9 February 1822, 245.

104 Harding, The Piano-Forte, 415, dates the beginning of Leukfeld's business in 1790. This is consistent with an entry given at The Georgian Index website ‘Merchants List’ for ‘Ludwig Lenkfeld, piano-forte Makers [sic] Tottenham Court Road 1790–1796‘, <www.georgianindex.net/London/l_merchants.html>, accessed on 13 October 2007. One encounters such variant spellings as Leukfield and Luckfeld. According to his will, proved on 1 December 1810 (The National Archives, Kew, Prob 11/1517; see Appendix 1, Document 29), Leukfeld's full name was Leudevig August Leukfeld.

105 The National Archives, Kew, C13/2415/7, f. 2; see Appendix 1, Document 27.

106 Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, 55.

107 Alexander Webley, musical instrument maker, music seller and publisher, is listed in Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History; The London Book Trades, 1775–1800: A Preliminary Checklist of Members <www.bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775–1800-w-z.html>, accessed on 3 July 2007.

108 Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, 78.

109 An ‘Irish patent’ piano bearing the name of ‘Astor & Comp.’ was recently offered for sale on eBay (2007), and we thank the seller for providing us with photographs of the instrument. In 1986 a ‘Webley’ square piano failed to sell at a Sotheby's auction; Early Music, 14/4 (1986), 573.

110 The National Archives, Kew, Prob 11/1464; see Appendix 1, Document 28. Will of Francis Fane Broderip, proved in London on 16 July 1807; see Appendix 8.

111 After William Southwell's death, his brother Nicholas continued in the music and musical instrument business in Liverpool until his own death in 1832 (buried on 21 September, aged 72, as recorded in the burial book of St. James Cemetery, Liverpool). William's son John maintained a music shop in Dublin.

112 Since the date of this patent coincided with the crowning of Queen Victoria, Broadwood called instruments employing this innovation ‘Patent Victoria Repetition Grand’ pianos; see Laurence, Alistair, ‘The Evolution of the Broadwood Grand Piano, 1785–1998’, Ph.D. dissertation, University of York, 1998, 8790 for a fuller description of this invention. A decade later (1846–49) William Southwell junior's name appears in the Broadwood wage books at a salary of £156 per annum (less than half the £356 per annum paid to the factory's foreman'; Laurence, ‘Evolution of the Broadwood’, 87).

113 Harding; The Piano-Forte, 321; Edward F. Rimbault, The Pianoforte, Its Origin, Progress and Construction (London, 1860), 189. The agreement between Southwell and Broadwood, the letters of patent ‘with seal in a tin box’, and the document containing the specifications are all preserved in the Broadwood Archive, Surrey History Centre, Woking, Surrey: 2185/JB/8/15–17. The authors have located the original patent documents, including an illustrative diagram, in the holdings of The National Archives, Kew; see Appendix 1, Document 32, The National Archives, Kew, C54/11833/7424/16.

114 George Long, in The Penny Cyclopœdia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain: Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, 1840) 18:141, gives the correct attribution, which has not been noticed by writers since then. Figure 6 in that publication contains an annotated drawing of Broadwood's new action, designed by Southwell, under the heading ‘Messrs Broadwood's former and new patent grand action (Invented by Mr Southwell, son of the late Mr W. Southwell.)‘ The birth certificate of Selina Southwell, one of William Southwell junior's daughters, gives her place and date of birth as 5 Winchester Row, New Road in the County of Middlesex on 6 December 1838. This address is the same as that given in patent No. 7424, enrolled in Chancery on 2 January of that year.

115 Charles Southwell was a prolific writer on Free Thought and edited several periodicals dedicated to the cause. On 27 November 1841 he was arrested in Bristol and spent seventeen days in solitary confinement for blasphemy for his article ‘The Jew Book’, about ‘biblical depravities and inconsistencies’. Just before he was to be rearrested, he fled to London; Gordon Stein, ‘Southwell, Charles’, Encyclopedia of Unbelief, ed. Gordon Stein (Buffalo, NY, 1985), 636–7, and F.B. Smith, ‘Charles Southwell, ’ Dictionary of New Zealand Biography (Auckland, 1990), i, 401–2. In January 1842 he returned to Bristol to face trial for ‘having, as an evil-minded and wickedly-disposed person, published a scandalous and blasphemous libel on the Old Testament'; George Standring, ‘Charles Southwell’, Our Corner, 11 (London, 1888), 155–67, 315–17. Southwell conducted his own defence with a ten-and-a-half-hour address, winning over many of those present. Nevertheless, after a two-day trial he was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail and a £100 fine.

116 Charles Southwell, The Confessions of a Free-Thinker (London, n.d.), 13–14, 56, and Wainwright, Broadwood by Appointment, 154, 156.

117 Class 10, Philosophical, Musical, Horological and Surgical Instruments (London, 1851), 464, which reads ‘469 Southall, William, 16 Baker Street, Portman Square—Manufacturer. Grand pianoforte.’ His entry was amended to read ‘Southwell, W.’ in the corrected edition of the catalogue published by Spicer Brothers in the same year. It also appears accurately in the list of exhibitors published in The Daily News, Tuesday 2 April 1851, 2.

118 In Some Notes made by J.S. Broadwood, 1838, with Observations & Elucidations by H.F. Broadwood, 1862, 9.

119 The authors wish to thank Robert and Vivien Southwell for their kind assistance in locating this set of original patent documents at the National Archives, Kew.

120 The authors wish to thank Robert and Vivien Southwell for their kind assistance in locating this set of original patent documents at the National Archives, Kew.

121 See Appendix 1, Document 2, The National Archives Kew C210/47 No. 2017.

122 According to the Guildhall Library, from about 1750 onwards an increasing proportion of the Freemen in the Livery companies became members by means other than completing an apprenticeship. The two other possible routes were In the light of this information it appears probable that both James Longman and Frances Fane Broderip became members of the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers by payment of a fee (redemption). Longman himself had been apprenticed to John Johnson in the Worshipful Company of Cooks (see note 11) so perhaps he belonged to two companies or changed his affiliation at some point. It is even possible that he may not have formally completed his apprenticeship in the Worshipful Company of Cooks, Johnson having died before the apprenticeship term was completed.

123 John Barrow's name also appears on the schedule of funds advanced to James Longman and received by his assignees, Blake, Bloxam, Banger, and Clementi (see Appendix 4).

124 Since James Longman and his brother John both originated from Milborne Port, Joseph Longman was probably a relative.

125 Charles Lukey was a business partner of James Longman until Lukey's death in 1776; presumably this was his son.

126 This could be the Gough who appears twice on the schedule of funds advanced to James Longman and received by his assignees, Blake, Bloxam, Banger, and Clementi (see Appendix 4, 1 June 1796: ‘Gough's tools, '; 3 November 1798: ‘To J.L. Said to be on account of Gough'). It is possible that this is the George Gough whom Ita M. Hogan, Anglo-Irish Music 1780–1830 (Cork, 1966), 102 lists as in business as a music seller and publisher at 4 Sackville Street, Dublin c.1798–1807.

127 It is possible that Elizabeth Gough was related to George Gough (see note 126).

128 On George Wilkinson and his family, see the section ‘Longman, Clementi & Co. and Broderip & Wilkinson’ above.

129 Although the scribe's writing is somewhat difficult to read, this name appears to be ‘Fontum’. However, a John Fentum is listed as a music seller in The London Book Trades 1775–1800: A Checklist of Members, <www.devon.gov.uk/localstudies/111155/1.html>, accessed on 26 April 2008): ‘FENTUM, John, music engraver, seller and publisher, 78 Strand c.1784–c.1835'. It is possible that the scribe mis-transcribed this name as ‘Fontum'.

130 This entry could be for a lackey or manservant, or for a person named Lackey. It could also be a mis-transcription of ‘Lukey’, the name of Charles Lukey, who had been an apprentice of James Longman from 3 October 1786 (see Appendix 3) and presumably was the son of Longman's former partner, Charles Lukey.

131 Located at 79 Cornhill.

132 Benjamin Banks is probably the son of the distinguished violin maker of the same name of Salisbury. According to A.W. Cooper's biographical article on Benjamin Banks Senior (1727–95) (New Grove 2), the younger Benjamin (1754–1820) worked for a short time in London and died in Liverpool, as did his older brothers, James and Henry. Their eldest sister, Ann, married the music publisher Thomas Cahusac. (See Appendix 3 for more on Henry Banks.) A report of the trial of Thomas Skinner on a charge of theft at The Old Bailey on 12 January 1803 includes evidence from Benjamin Banks ‘in partnership with George Astor and Horwood, in Sun-street’ and George Astor Jnr. that confirms that Banks was in partnership with George Astor Senior and George Horwood at this time (The Proceedings of the Old Bailey, Ref: U8030112–36 <www.oldbaileyonline.org/browse.jsp?ref=t18030112–36>, accessed 9 April 2008). Ian Maxted (The London Book Trades 1775–1800: A Checklist of Members, 2005 <www.devon.gov.uk/localstudies/111144/1.html>) lists the address for Astor's organ manufactory as Sun Street, Bishopsgate Street, c.1807–11.

133 A house with its outbuildings and yard/garden.

134 The London Apprenticeship Abtracts 1442–1850 contains an entry for a William Dettmar as follows:

1787 Dettmar, William David, son of Christopher, Oxfordshire Road, Middlesex, musical instrument maker, to Samuel Bury, 2 Jan 1787, Tallow Chandlers Company.

The name is an unusual one and it seems likely that this is the same person. The Tallow Chandlers Company is one of the older Livery Companies of the City of London, having been founded around 1300 and granted a Royal Charter in 1462 (see The Worshipful Company of Tallow Chandlers website: <www.tallowchandlers.org/about/index.htm>, accessed on 26 April 2008). William Newton (1831) describes a patent registered by William Dettmer of Upper-Mary-le-bone Street, Fitzroy Square in the County of Middlesex on 30 August 1827 for ‘certain improvements on pianofortes’ (The London Journal of Arts and Sciences, 329–30).

135 John Raithby was the lawyer who represented Francis Fane Broderip in his case against Augustus Leukfeld in 1806; see Appendix 1, Document 25. The National Archives, Kew, C13/2415/7.

136 Listed in Franz Josef Hirt, Stringed Keyboard Instruments (Boston, 1968), 446, as ‘August Leukfeld, ∗ [= piano maker] 1790–1796‘; Leukfeld is not mentioned in Harding, The Piano-Forte, or Cole, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era.

137 Heringen, a town in Thuringia that was a part of Saxony until after World War II.

138 27 Tottenham Court Road, according to an 1805 London Directory. There was extant in 2006 a five-and-a-half-octave square piano with a damper pedal and a nameboard stating Holmyard - Foreman and Successor to the late Mr Leukfeld, 7 Gresse St. Ralhbone Place, London. In 2005 Bonhams auctioned a Leukfeld square piano <uk-piano.org>.

139 His naturalisation in 1805 is recorded in the Parliamentary Archives. Reference: HL/PO/PB/l/1805/45Gn38.

140 Pallots Marriage Index lists the marriage of Augustus Leukfeld (b [batchelor]) to Jane Mason (w [widow]) at St Pancras in 1803. The marriage of Jane Mason and Augustus Lenkfeld is also listed in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) at St Pancras Old Church on 20 February 1803; <www.familysearch.org>, accessed on 8 April 2008.

141 In English law, a form of landholding defined as a ‘holding at the will of the lord according to the custom of the manor’; Encyclopaedia Britannica.

142 This public house still exists; see <http://trustedplaces.com/review/uk/london/bar-pub/1034o61/adam-and-eve>, accessed on 10 April 2008.

143 It appears that Mrs Leukfeld swiftly remarried after her husband's death. A notice of the wedding appears in Jackson's Oxford Journal of 19 January 1811:

At St James's Church, William Gordon Esq, of Oxford-street to Mrs. Leukfeld, of Tottenham-street, and Mill Hill, Middlesex.

An advertisement for an auction sale of Angustus Leukfeld's finished stock at 27 Tottenham Street appeared in The Morning Chronicle, Wednesday, 16 January 1811, which reads:

To Ladies, Gentleman, Pianoforte-makers, and others. — By Mr POUNDS on the Premises, No. 27, Tottenham-street, Tottenham-court-road, THIS DAY, at twelve.

A Great Variety of elegant Upright, Horizontal, Grand Oval Sideboard and Square PIANOFORTES & finished in a superior manner, the late property of Mr Augustus Leukfeld, deceased, well known as one of the most eminent pianoforte makers, which will be sold without the least reserve, by order of the trustee and executrix. As this is an opportunity that seldom occurs, it is particularly recommended to ladies, who may have seminaries for young ladies, to avail themselves of the present sale, as they will find it greatly to their advantage, and the pianofortes will be sold single, for the accommodation of private persons. May be viewed by tickets only, two days prior to the sale, and catalogues had of Mr Pound, Snow Hill.– N.B On account of the number of instruments not being finished, there will be a further sale when they are completed, due notice of which will be given.

A second sale, this time of wood and other raw materials, was advertised in the same publication dated 25 January 1811:

To Piano-Forte Makers, Cabinet Makers, Carpenters, Mangle Makers and others-Extensive Stock of fine seasoned Timber, &c.–By Mr. POUNDS, on the Premises, No. 27, Tottenham-street, Tottenham-court-road, THIS DAY, at eleven precisely, by Order of the Trustee and Executrix of the late Mr. Augustus Leukfeld, Piano Forte maker, dec.

A Great quantity of dry seasoned MAHOGANY, DEALS, BEACH [sic] PINE, ELM and CLAPBOARDS of various dimensions, a great quantity of dry seasoned [illegible word] Wood, sundry useful building materials and various other property, being part of the choice stock of the late Mr. Augustus Leukfeld, deceased, and will be found well worth the attention of any persons in the above business. May be viewed two days preceding the Sale; and catalogues had on the Premises; at the Adam and Eve, Tottenham-court-road, and of Mr. Pounds, Snow-hill.

A third and final sale was advertised in The Morning Chronicle on Wednesday, 13 March 1811:

To Ladies, Gentlemen, Pianoforte Makers, and others.–By Mr. POUNDS, on the Premises, No. 27, Tottenhamstreet, Tottenham-court-road, THIS and following day, at 11.

THE remainder of the Stock of elegant upright, horizontal, grand oval Sideboard and square Piano-fortes, finished in a superior manner, the late property of Augustus Leukfeld deceased, well known as one of the most eminent Pianoforte makers, which will be sold without the least reserve, single, for the accommodation of private persons, by order of the Trustee and Executrix. Also the whole of the elegant Pianoforte Cases, finished in a superior manner, and a variety of work prepared for the pianofortes, excellent Berlin wire, work benches, glue pots, brass and iron mongery, and numerous other effects. The pianofortes may be viewed, by tickets only, and catalogues had on the premises; and of Mr Pounds, Snow-hill.

According to Ian Maxted (2007), 27 Tottenham Street was also the address for George Astor at this time (1798–1814); see The Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History <http://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775–1800.html>, accessed on 8 April 2008.

144 It appears that, despite this Grant of Administration to Augustus Leukfeld's sister, his estate remained unsettled for some considerable time. Further documents indexed at The National Archives (C205/2/78, dated 22 November 1833; C217/133; C217/151) indicate that his estate was subject to ‘Draft Special Commissions to inquire into and seize the [effects or] lands of Aliens’, despite the fact that he had been granted British citizenship in 1805.

1 From the outset the authors wish to thank Michael Cole for all his groundbreaking research on early English pianos—published on his website <www.squarepianos.com> and in two books, The Pianoforte in the Classical Era (Oxford, 1998) and Broadwood Square Pianos (Cheltenham, 2005)—and for his generous assistance with our project. We gratefully acknowledge the research on court cases involving early English piano makers and other important documents by Jenny Nex, in her article ‘Culliford and Company: Keyboard Instrument Makers in Georgian London’, Early Keyboard Journal, 22 (2004), 7–47, and David Rowland, in his chapter ‘Clementi's Early Business Career: New Documents’ in Muzio Clementi. Cosmopolita della Musica. Atti del convegno internazionale in occasione del 250° anniversario delta nascita (1752–2002). Roma 4–6 Dicembre 2002, ed. Richard Bösel and Massimiliano Sala (Bologna, 2004), 49–59.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Piano Wars: The Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795–1806

  • George S. Bozarth, Margaret Debenham and David Cripps

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.