A Cramer 5 Octave Ship's Piano, believed to be ex. RRS Discovery 1901 44x13x26in(112x33x66cm)closed.

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Lot 109
A Cramer 5 Octave Ship's Piano, believed to be ex. RRS Discovery 1901
44x13x26in(112x33x66cm)closed.

Sold for £ 600 (US$ 747) inc. premium
A Cramer 5 Octave Ship's Piano, believed to be ex. RRS Discovery 1901
made by J B Cramer & Co. 109 Bond Street, London in April 1899, serial number 29840. Iron frame, overstrung with folding keyboard. 44x13x26in(112x33x66cm)closed.

Footnotes

  • A Dundee piano retailer installed and hand finished a piano in the Officer's Wardroom on board the RRS Discovery, then fitting out for the Royal Geographical Society in 1901. It was without a base, as it was required to fit on to a narrow 2ft. ledge in the wardroom.

    It featured in several of the diaries recording the voyage to the Pole, including an incident when in severe weather it broke loose and damaged both itself and several chairs. The ship's carpenter repaired the damage to the front panel and replaced a broken lever with a clip and wire from the sledging equipment, evidence of which can still be seen on this piano. It was used in the wardroom, was carried up on deck for divine service and was taken ashore to perform in the amateur theatricals. Various officers played upon it, including Scott, who notes that he performed clumsily. It was mostly played by Lieutenant Royds, Discovery's First Officer.

    At the conclusion of the expedition, Discovery was put up for sale and as was common, the wardroom assets were divided up amongst the Officers, Royds retaining the piano. Royds later became the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, dying in 1936.

    The serial number on this piano according to the Pierce Piano Atlas dates it between 1895-1900, and there is a label beneath the keys dated 10.4.99. No chain of provenance exists to firmly connect this piano with the one retained by Lt. Royds, but evidence of damage and repairs are commensurate with that sustained by the Discovery's instrument and noted in the diaries.
A Cramer 5 Octave Ship's Piano, believed to be ex. RRS Discovery 1901 44x13x26in(112x33x66cm)closed.
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