The Powerhouse acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our museums are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.
2010/42/1 Upright grand piano, timber, metal / ivory / fabric, made by W & M Stodart, London, England, 1809. Click to enlarge.

Upright grand piano by W & M Stodart

  • 1809
This upright grand bookcase piano is the first of its type to enter the Powerhouse Museum's collection and the earliest upright piano to be found in it. Dating from 1809 it is made by one of London's leading piano manufacturers, Matthew and William Stodart, and one of the few examples of this type of piano to be found in Australia. Apart from its rarity it is significant for its construction and design showing the transition from the standard horizontal grand piano to the cabinet piano, which …


Object No.


Object Statement

Upright grand piano, timber, metal / ivory / fabric, made by W & M Stodart, London, England, 1809

Physical Description

Upright grand piano, timber, metal / ivory / fabric, made by W & M Stodart, London, England, 1809

Upright grand piano of 5 & 3/4 octaves from FF to c4. Triple strung throughout. Case in mahogany. The upper cabinet features two doors covered in light green pleated fabric forming a central rose in each door. Doors open to reveal strings, soundboard and case sides of piano. The space between the bent side of the piano and the right side of the cabinet has a series of wooden shelves installed for housing sheet music and books. The keyboard has ivory covered naturals and ebony sharps. An oval makers plaque with text in black flowing script is centrally located above the keyboard. A wooden music desk sits above this with folding music stand and sliding panels either side. A removable rectangular wooden fall board is fitted at the front and has two circular enamelled knobs each featuring a Greek style urn on a white ground surrounded by a brass ring border. Four tapered squared legs below keyboard are fitted with castors. Two pedals for una corda and damper are set into wooden housings extending from the bottom of piano and are widely spaced apart.

When doors are opened a modern made painted screen is revealed which covers the strings. The screen is made from painted fabric stretched over a wooden frame and features an image of a lyre.


Maker's plaque reads; "Patent / W & M Stodart / Maker's to their Majestys / and Royal Family / Golden Square / London / 1809"

Signature on rear of fall board; "Luigi [Novartaram]

In pencil on rear of nameboard; "Colin van der Lecq 15 - 5 - 05".

Inscription on back of screen; "BJB for WFB Jan 1998".



2480 mm


1100 mm


560 mm



  • 1809


William Stodart took out an English patent no:2028 for "An upright grand piano in the form of a bookcase." on 12 January 1795. This instrument, based on this patent, was made by Matthew and William Stodart in 1809. The modern screen was made and painted by Brian Barrow, Sydney.



Martha Novak Clinkscale notes that William & Matthew Stodart received a Royal privilege in about 1807. This is referred to on pianos as "Maker's to their Majestys and Royal Family". This piano was sourced in Italy in about 1981 and then became part the donor's historic keyboard collection.


Credit Line

Bequest of Mr William F Bradshaw, 2010

Acquisition Date

15 June 2010

Cite this Object


Upright grand piano by W & M Stodart 2022, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 3 February 2023, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Upright grand piano by W & M Stodart |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=3 February 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}