Harp Making in Late-Georgian London

 

At the end of the eighteenth century, after the French Revolution, the centre of pedal-harp making moved from Paris to London.  There, building on the work of its Bavarian originators and Parisian developers, mainly immigrant makers elevated the instrument to new musical, technical, and decorative heights, and placed it in the hands and salons of the British upper classes and aristocracy.        Until recently, the story of harp making in England has been dominated by the Erard family who built about 7,000 of an estimated 20,000 harps made in London during the nineteenth century; some 20 other makers have been all but forgotten.  

      This book, the story of harp making in late-Georgian England, assesses the role and consumption of the harp in society whilst describing its decorative and technical development.  Forgotten makers and their innovations are identified. Through the lens of newly discovered documents and the reinterpretation of others, Jacob Erat's manufactories are reconstructed.  His working methods, illustrative of those used in the wider industry, are rediscovered, and employees and suppliers are revealed anew.

Reviews

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The history of harp making in the British Isles has been unjustly neglected [...] Baldwin's Harp Making in Late-Georgian London has thrust this tradition to the forefront of harp scholarship. Musicologists, organologists, instrument makers, harpists, historians and music lovers will be grateful to Baldwin for bringing to life a vibrant community of inventors and makers, allowing us to better appreciate their enormous contributions to European musical life.

Professor Robert Adelson, Galpin Society Journal, vol. 74 (spring 2021), https://www.galpinsociety.org

https://robertadelson.wordpress.com/

As a harp designer and restorer, I have to recommend this book and give it the highest praise: It is by far the best book on the early pedal harps. It should be introduced as a textbook into music colleges , music schools etc. so that concert harpists can finally learn much more about the history of their instrument [...] This book belongs into every library of concert harpists, musicologists and friends of the harp.

Rainer M. Thurau - Harp designer and maker, Thurau Harps, Weisbaden, Germany. https://thurau-harps.com

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