Joseph Schneider, 1850/1851, Vienna
This instrument was especially made for the Great Exhibition in London of 1851 for the Austrian pavilion in Crystal Palace, as a showpiece of craftsmanship. It is described in the Exhibition Catalogue and we found confirmation in the book “Three generations Streicher” where Johann Baptist Streicher describes his presence in London, complaining about everything: too noisy, terrible acoustics, dusty, lack of maintenance, the masses pouring in at 11:00 am, etc. etc. But he also describes in detail this Schneider piano being there! Schneider, although not known today, must have been a renowned builder in those days, because Austria would certainly have sent nothing but their best. Indeed, every detail of this piano is exquisite, beautifully made, the best one can imagine.
Nearly everything, e.g. tuning pins, hammers, dampers, is original. The miniature portrait is by Conrad Hamburger, 1852, probably of Geertruida Bosboom-Toussaint.
The instrument was in relatively good condition, the case was undamaged; we only touched up the polish. The soundboard was taken out and rebuilt with all its original parts. The strings were not original, the soundboard was clumsily varnished, over the dirt and not reaching under the hitchpin plate. The original tuning pins were used again, as usual, and the strings were renewed.
The action is completely original and in very good condition. The hammers got a new top layer of leather over the felt.