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2002/70/1 Square piano, timber / metal / fabric, made for Francis Ellard of Sydney by [Collard & Collard], London, England, 1835-1838. Click to enlarge.

Square piano by Collard & Collard

This square piano is thought to have been made by Collard and Collard of London and bears a decorative nameplate stating: "Manufactured expressly for F. Ellard, Sydney". Francis Ellard, one of the first dealers of musical instruments in Australia, was part of an extended family that comprised singers, musicians, composers and teachers; this family had a significant influence on musical life in Sydney from the 1830s to at least the 1850s. The piano is especially significant as it was purchased, presumably from Ellard, by a Bathurst family in 1838 and remained in the same family and homestead until it was purchased by the donor in 1999.

Ellard arrived in Sydney with his wife Joanna and two children aboard the "Lavinia" on 6 December 1832. This ship sailed from Liverpool via Hobart Town. Ellard is described in the shipping list and SMH (10/12/1832) as a merchant from Ireland. He is listed in W O'Shaughnessey's Australian Almanack and Sydney Directory for the years 1834 and 1835 as a musical instrument maker and music seller at Hunter Street (p.286 & p.424 respectively). In Ford's Commercial Directory of Sydney in 1851 he is described as a "musical instrument maker, and Pianoforte tuner and repairer" situated at 52 Pitt Street south. Despite being described as an instrument maker, he is mainly regarded as having been a dealer and agent for imported instruments. There appears to be no evidence to suggest that he was a maker, and most surviving instruments bearing his name indicate they were sold rather than made by him. Ellard died in Sydney in 1854 aged 56.

Ellard was a contemporary of John Benham, who is credited as being Australia's first piano maker. Benham's only extant piano, dating from about 1835, is also in the Powerhouse Museum's collection, as is an organ by Australia's first organ builder, William Johnson dating from about 1845. Another square piano in the museum's collection, made by Robert Wolf of London, also bears an internal label stating it was sold by F Ellard, Sydney on 22nd March 1841. Ellard was at one time also listed as an agent for Wolf pianos.

Michael Lea
Curator, Music & Musical Instruments
June, 2002


Object No.


Object Statement

Square piano, timber / metal / fabric, made for Francis Ellard of Sydney by [Collard & Collard], London, England, 1835-1838

Physical Description

Square piano, timber / metal / fabric, made for Francis Ellard of Sydney by [Collard & Collard], London, England, 1835-1838

Square piano with six octave compass from F to F. Solid timber case with fold-back lid that can be supported at each end by lid sticks. Part iron plate inside, over-dampers and square-ended wrest pins. Lowest octave strung as single strings with the rest strung as bichord. Rear left hand side of soundboard has the number '1673' stamped into timber. Below this is the number '32142' written in black ink. To the right of these numbers is 'No 9' as a black stencil. The name board directly behind the keyboard is made of Abura wood and features two decorative carved lattice panels with fabric backing. The centre of the board has the label 'Manufactured expressly for F Ellard Sydney'. Either side of this are sheet music pins to support music on the music stand. The music stand folds down at the back of the name board. The piano stands on four turned legs on castors. A single pedal is attached beneath. The letters 'FC' appear on the soundboard. The donor says one of the keys has the inscription 'Have sold sixty of these'. Paper labels have been attached to the back of the nameboard by the donor. The caster to the rear treble side leg has been removed.


Stamped at rear left hand side of soundboard '1673'
Written underneath in black ink '32142'
Painted in black ink 'No9'

Label on nameboard 'Manufactured expressly for F. ELLARD Sydney'

Engraved into soundboard, 'FC'

Stamped into timber to left of nameboard, 'I/44'

White paper label on back of nameboard attached by donor, printed in black 'W. F. Bradshaw Pty. Ltd. / (A.B.N number) / ESTABLISHED 1941 / CLOCKS - ANTIQUES - FURNITURE / (telephone and fax number) / (address) / This square piano, was sold to the T.W. McPhillamy family of Bathurst, on the / 29th January 1838 and was in the drawing room of their homestead "Fosters Valley" house, and remained in the room, where it was placed in 1838, until it / was sold to me on 31st May 1999. It was probably made by Frederick Collard, / for F. Ellard Sydney as it has stamped into the rest plate F.C.'

White paper label attached by donor, 'There is a note, on the end top key, in Ellard handwriting. / (signature of donor and date)'



870 mm


1785 mm


685 mm



Made for Francis Ellard of Sydney during the late 1830s. Donor thinks piano was probably made for Ellard by Collard & Collard of London. This is based on the initials FC on the inside of the instrument and which possibly stands for Frederick Collard. The legs are also identical to those found on other Collard & Collard pianos of the same period.



Donor states that the piano was sold to the family of TW McPhillamy of Bathurst on 29th January 1838, presumably by Francis Ellard. It remained in the same family until purchased by the donor in 1999. The donor also stated that the family member he dealt with claimed it had stood against the same internal wall of the drawing room of the family homestead, Fosters Valley, since it was purchased by the family in 1838.


Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Mr William Bradshaw, 2002

Acquisition Date

9 July 2002

Cite this Object


Square piano by Collard & Collard 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 19 October 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Square piano by Collard & Collard |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=19 October 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}