About this artwork
A product of the Arts and Crafts movement in England, the Manxman Pianoforte represents an innovative solution to the somewhat awkward form of the upright piano. Motivated by the shoddy results of industrial mass production, the movement advocated the recognition of furniture and decorative arts as works of art. Here the celebrated English architect and designer Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott created an object that is both cleverly functional and aesthetically pleasing. When opened, the lid and doors of the strikingly decorated cabinet act as acoustical sounding boards. Revealed inside is the musical instrument itself, along with a profusion of exquisite handcrafted metalwork, including candleholders fixed to the sides of the case. The overall design, like the keyboard, is a study in contrasts of light and dark; the lower section’s alternating pattern echoes the piano’s keys. A Manxman is an inhabitant of the Isle of Man, and the term derives from Scott’s early residence there. This piano is one of a number executed around 1900 with John Broadwood and Sons of London, who made the musical movements.
- Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott (Designer)
- Manxman Pianoforte
- Made 1897
- Oak, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and copper
- 128.9 × 143.2 cm (50 3/4 × 56 3/8 in.); H. with top open 162.6 cm (64 in.); W. with one door open 212.4 cm (83 5/8 in.)
- Purchased with funds provided by Robert Allerton, Mrs. Joseph Regenstein, Sr., Walter S. Brewster, Mrs. Emily Crane Chadbourne, Richard T. Crane, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Leopold Blumka, Henry Manaster, Jack Linsky, Mrs. Margaret Day Blake, Mr. and Mrs. John Wilson, Mrs. Henry C. Wood, by exchange; Florene May Schoenborn and Samuel A. Marx Fund; European Decorative Arts Purchase Fund