Ganer, Christopher

Piano maker, inlayer, music publisher and seller initially at 22 Broad Street moving to 47 Broad Street, Soho and also at 48 Broad Street from the early 1780’s. From 1779, Ganer made very elegant inlaid square pianos on a “French” frame stand as well as plain examples.

Although, the French frame stand was used as early as 1777 or 1778, Ganer may be considered as one of the first makers to produce highly elegant cross-banded and inlaid square pianos reflecting the neoclassical taste of the period. His skill as an inlayer gave him the opportunity to develop the plain case of the 1770’s instrument into an object of elegant beauty.  A fine example of his work, dated 1779, is at the Colt Clavier Collection, in Kent, UK.  He made a square piano for Princess Amelia, daughter of George 111 in 1782.

I have not seen two Ganer square pianos that are identical in decoration and ornamentation.  Every instrument appears to be slightly different in treatment.  Some continuity existed in the nameboard decoration and the early instruments used a double garland of inlaid bell flowers with an Robert Adam style segmented  inlaid medallion in the cheeks of the keywell.  Instruments from about 1782 used a single garland of bell flowers but without decoration in the cheeks and an enamel oval plaque for the nameboard inscription was adopted from about 1790. His square pianos were dated up to 1784 with Latin nameboard inscription.

His birth and death dates are given as c1750 and 1811 respectively but there is evidence that died after 1818. He was not a British citizen but came from Leipzig, Saxony to start making pianos in London.  He was granted by Letters Patent of Denization, a form of British citizenship, in 1792 that gave him some rights including the right to own land and property. In the deed of grant he was referred to as “our well-beloved Christopher Ganer” and therefore he must have gained considerable respect.   In the late 1790’s his output of pianos declined and Ganer sub-let both 47 and 48 Broad Street houses from 1808 until 1818.

 

Postscript

I am currently undertaking further research into the life and work of Christopher Ganer.  It is known that he was married 1774 to Lydia Willey and had four daughters and possibly one son who died young.   It is not known at present why his output of square pianos declined in the later years.  He was also a harp maker for a short period although none by him are known to have survived.   If you are able to provide any further information about his piano making or personal life I would be pleased to hear from you.   Please contact Graham,  Email: graham@earlypiano.co.uk    Thank you.

Updated: 17 December 2013