This exquisite grand piano, with its links to British royalty, is in desperate need of restoration to bring it back to its former glory.
Showing superb craftsmanship, this piano’s casework of fine-grained rosewood displays a stunningly lavish inlay of brass. The name of the maker, Mott, Mott & Company, which takes pride of place in the middle of the keyboard cover, is adorned with a typically Romantic sylvan scene of a young girl seated under an umbrella in a pastoral setting.
Isaac Henry Robert Mott was a highly regarded English piano maker. He was an entrepreneur, taking out a number of patents for initiatives in piano manufacturing, including an 1817 patent for a new type of pianoforte called the sostinente pianoforte.
In the 1820s he published a guide to playing the pianoforte, floridly entitled I.H.R. Mott’s Advice and Instructions for playing the Piano Forte with Expression and Brilliant Execution.
Mott received a royal appointment from George, the Prince of Wales, after the Prince Regent ordered a Mott grand piano for his residence in Brighton. This was part of the Prince Regent’s transformation of his modest seaside villa into the magnificent Royal Pavilion, or Brighton Pavilion as it is known today.
Mott relocated to London and set up in partnership with his cousin, Julius Caesar Mott, in Pall Mall. On the strength of the royal endorsement, eleven of Mott’s grand pianos were subsequently purchased by English noblemen.
In 1820 – around the time this piano was made – the Prince of Wales finally ascended the throne after nine years as Prince Regent, following the death of his father, George III. He became George IV and Mott was now able to boast of his firm being ‘Pianoforte Makers to His Majesty’.
When the Mott cousins’ partnership dissolved in 1824, Isaac remained in London, eventually moving his business premises from Pall Mall to The Strand. In 1851 he displayed one of his pianos at the Paris Exhibition.
In an interesting antipodean connection, four of Mott’s children immigrated to Australia in the late 1800s. Today the Brighton Pavilion still houses a Mott grand piano in the Music Room Gallery, a gift from Queen Mary. With its rosewood case inlaid with brass, its decorative opulence is similar to both the original piano that stood in the room in the Regency period and to this piano in the Stewart Symonds Collection.