Restoring An 1840’s Boisselot et fils Piano
Artisan Piano Services has recently have been given the rare opportunity to do some restoration work on a truly classic instrument: an 1840’s Boisselot et fils piano. This period instrument is very rare, and it is an uncommon thing to be able to see one of these pianos, let alone work on one. Restoring this piano is a great thrill!
We will be doing a partial rebuild of the ACTION, including: recondition the action parts to proper working condition, possible re-pinning, replacing key-bushings and key-bed felt as necessary, surfacing the hammers, lubricating the knuckles, and doing a touch-up regulation and voicing. Included is new damper felt and damper regulation.
Artisan has also been commissioned to provide a full restoration of the BELLY: replacing the strings, tuning pins, and pinblock. We will repair and recondition soundboard and bridges, as well as refinish plate and replace the plate felt and recondition plate hardware.
Importantly, our technicians will provide numerous in-shop tunings before the project is completed, and another one when the piano is delivered to our customer.
Finally, to preserve the original beauty and integrity of the cabinet finish, we will simply touch up the case and re-install some loose decorative brass trim pieces.
HISTORY of the Boisselot & Fils
“Boisselot & Fils [i.e. & sons] was a French piano manufacturing company established in 1831 in Marseille, France, by Jean-Louis Boisselot and sons, Louis-Constantin and Xavier Boisselot. The rapid increase in the production capacity of the factory with 70 workers to 300 pianos per year from 1834 shows that father and son had prepared their plan carefully. The constant expansion led in 1848 with 150 workers for the production of about 400 pianos a year. Highlighting this success, he was awarded with a gold medal at the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 (the 10th Paris Industrial Exhibition). Among other innovations Boisselot presented for the first time at the exhibition a mechanism by which individual notes and sounds were identified as Tonhalte or sostenuto pedal today.” (Wikipedia for Boisselot & Fils)
According to Pianos Romantiques, “Marseille turned out to be a good choice for setting up a piano factory: salaries were lower than those of the Parisian rivals, cheap exotic wood was [close] to hand thanks to the importance of the town as a port, and there was easy access to important export markets: Italy, Spain, and the colonies via the Mediterranean.”
The famous pianist and composer Franz Liszt was a patron to the Boisselots. He owned and performed on a Boisselot Fils. According to Alan Walker, Liszt traveled in October-November 1844 in Spain with his lifelong friend, Louis Boisselot, for a series of concerts. “Liszt played on a Boisselot piano, a powerful instrument especially brought in from Marseille by Louis Boisselot, which accompanied him on his journey across the Iberian Peninsula.” (Franz Liszt: The virtuoso years, 1811-1847)
Finally – Enjoy a Chopin Nocturne performed on a 1842 Boisselot!