Exceptional Custom Made Gothic Medieval Style Upright Piano with Fascinating History!
This is one of the rarest and most unusual pianos ever offered by The Antique Piano Shop. It is a one-of-a-kind handmade Gothic Medieval upright piano by A. Dolge & Company in the Black Forest region of 19tn Century Germany. Here is some text from our online museum about Dolge:
Alfred Dolge Jr. was one of the most important and fascinating men in piano history. When he was 17 when he entered his fathers business A. Dolge and Co., Piano Manufacturers. As an apprentice in his fathers firm, Dolge learned every facet of piano manufacturing as it was done in the old European tradition
Although Alfred Dolge Jr. was widely known in the American piano industry, there is virtually no information available about his father, Alfred Dolge Sr., or his fathers piano shop known as A. Dolge & Co. Piano Manufacturers.
Everything about this piano and its story is spectacular. The piano was acquired from a retired U.S. Air force officer who had purchased it from a convent in Germany in the 1950s. It wasnt until the 1960s that the piano was brought here to the United States. There were two German Opera Tickets found inside the piano dated 1907 which were not sold to us with the piano apparently hidden there so that Mother Superior would not discover anyone from the Convent had been to the Opera!
When we acquired the piano, there was no makers mark on the instrument anywhere. We spent hours in vein trying to determine the maker of the instrument. After hours of searching for a makers mark, we noticed that the top lid to the piano did not fit exactly as it should to the body of the piano. When opening and lowering the lid, we could hear something inside moving around so we realized that the lid had a false bottom on it! One of our wood carvers removed the false bottom (which was not original to the piano) and discovered a collection of badly deteriorated papers and other miscellaneous treasure that had been hidden inside the pianos lid for decades (see photos). Also hidden by the false bottom of the lid was the beautifully carved maker's mark of "A. Dolge & Co." in all its glory! (Note that the lid to the piano is not attached to the piano in the photos, and it is being properly restored so that it fits the piano as it did when it was new).
This piano is made in the exceedingly rare Gothic Medieval style. The entire cabinet is hand carved in solid oak wood which is adorned with pure ebony wood and solid brass accents. Whats most impressive about the cabinet is the amazingly carved statuary on either side of the front panel which depict the VIRGIN MARY GIVING BIRTH TO THE CHRIST CHILD! (look closely, you will see two faces). The carvings on this piano are not absolutely perfect and proportionate, indicating that they were truly hand carved. Even the two iron foot pedals are in the shape of Gothic Crosses.
Since there is so little information available about A Dolge, Sr., or about A. Dolge & Co. Piano Manufacturers, we can only estimate the age of this piano to be circa about 1850 based on the design and construction of the instrument. Amazingly, the design of the piano action is very similar to a modern upright piano, so it can be restored to become a playable, durable musical instrument with good tone quality it isnt just a beautiful piece of furniture.
The piano is going to be painstakingly restored back to historically accurate specifications. The ivory keys will be restored to like-new condition, while the two ornate candle sconces (not seen in photos) will be restored and replaced on either side of the music stand. Also not seen in the photos are the ornately carved wooden handles which affix to either side of the instrument so that it can be carried across a room.
Our master woodcarver is going to hand carve a reproduction piano bench in solid oak wood which will be finished to match the piano exactly.
In 20+ years, we have never seen a piano that comes close to this one. This is one of those once in a lifetime finds that we always dream about!