Specially made for James de Rothschild, 1835-1836.
Astonishing signature on the name-board:”PLEYEL & Cie / in APPENZELL“…
The furniture, spruce veneered, is shaped like Swiss table called money-changer table or banker-table.
Two stringed note. Six octaves keyboard: F-f6.
Dimensions: 171,5cm x 73,3cm.
This instrument is registred in the archives of the Pleyel company. Firstly in the workshop register, about the starting of the job (may 1835) and its different steps, secondly in the sale book, about the description and the specification of this model and the name of the client. One can read: n°4890: Square, / spruce outlined / 2/2/6/ (that means: 2 strings a note / 2 pedals / 6 octaves) sold to Mr. de Rothschild in Paris, June 1836. 1100FF., the same cost than a classical square mahogany model.
Charlotte de Rothschild (1825-1899) is 11 years old when the piano is delivered. Very good pianist, she will be teached by Frederic Chopin himself. He will dedicate to her his Ballade n°4, opus 52. Another Pleyel piano is delivered the same year to the Rothschild mansion of the rue Lafitte. A pianino model of Renaissance style, ebony veneered with a mother of pearl keyboard, serial number 4798.
In 1842, when she get married, Charlotte de Rothschild plays on the grand Pleyel n°8814. She will get seven others…
James de Rothschild (1792-1868) was a great art connoisseur. Delacroix, Balzac, Berlioz, Rossini or Chopin were entertained to the famous receptions of the rue Lafitte. The renaissance style of the house can explain the choice of the Pleyel pianino n°4798, but what about a square model, spruce veneered and wilfully rustic? The choice of a “banker-table” model, typical of the switzerland looks rather interesting and funny from a banker, but the signature “Pleyel in Appenzell”, really authentic, remains at the present degree of researches, a mystery…
Bibliography: Jean Jude: “Pleyel. La passion d’un siècle”. 2008.