Erard Composition Moulds

The Erard Composition (compo) Moulds, as their name indicates, were made for the Erard Harp Company and were used in the decoration of their harps.  On closer examination of the collection moulds from other makers are evident.  Depicted here in approximately chronological order, the earliest moulds (reverse-carved boxwood) were first made for either the Erat or Dodd companies (the lion was used on both makers' single-action instruments).  Later moulds, some of which are signed by Hall (the carver) were made for J. George Morley at the end of the nineteenth century and were used to restore old harps.  The latest examples are made of compo, probably by Morley or his men, and are known as squeeze moulds; the compo was literally squeezed onto the chosen decoration in order to make the mould.

On the closure of Erard's London business at the end to the nineteenth century, the moulds were acquired with materials, instruments, and the goodwill of the company by J. George Morley.  They remained in the Morley collection for over 100 years until they were sold at auction in 2014 when I acquired them.  Whilst now retired from use in order to conserve them, one or two are occasionally used by experts in the restoration of harps.

© 2020 by Mike Baldwin

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