Visitors to the museum who take the elevator to the second floor are greeted by one of the most stunning instruments in the entire exhibit, the 1828 Nunns Brothers piano, one of three of their French pillar and plinth style designs.
The brothers immigrated to America in the early 1820’s and went to work for Kearsing and Son before striking out on their own in 1824. They built elegant pianos for the music selling firm of Dubois and Stodart and their pianos quickly became known in New York for their high quality and beauty, a distinction that would follow the Nunns through many decades of building instruments.
This piano, number 256, sits on highly carved mahogany pedestal stand and is veneered in Brazilian rosewood, among the finest materials then available. The back is fully veneered in and detailed like the front such that when the lid is closed it is difficult to tell front from back, including a double pedal lyre with silk inlay.
It came to Thomas Strange in the summer of 2012 and what is now a very elegant and arresting appearance was covered in mildew, the brass was painted wood putty, but with the careful attention to historical records and proper restoration practices the piano in the museum is now a striking example of the Federal style in the new youthful country that was beginning to make its mark on the world stage.