The upright Broadwood piano, as designed by Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942), a piece sent for exhibition in Hungary in 1902, is estimated at £6,000-£8,000 as part of the auction house’s January 16 Design sale.
Fashioned in Spanish mahogany inlaid with holly and applied with pierced strap hinges, this is one of at least five Broadwood pianos made with Ashbee casings by the Guild of Handicraft. Examples are pictured in all of the major texts on Arts and Crafts furniture.
This particular piano (numbered 95406, model 8) has an impeccable provenance. The Broadwood Archives lists its date of manufacture (it was finished on February 27, 1902), the price paid by one Mr C Watson Low (£118.2.6) and its part in the British Applied Arts Exhibition at the National Museum of Decorative Art in Budapest in September-November 1902. It was sent to Hungary along with another Arts and Crafts piano designed by Hugh Mackay Baillie Scott.
Watson Low later gave his Ashbee piano and its stool to his niece, Miss C M Low, who used it to teach piano until her retirement in 2001, and it is her daughter who is now offering it for sale. She contacted Sworders after she found that a near identical piano was successfully sold by the auction house in 2014 for £10,400.