Wednesday 19 April: Mr Langshaw's Square Piano: the story of the first pianos and the resulting cultural revolution - Madeline Goold

Review of our lecturer's book: Mr. Langshaw's Square Piano - (ISBN 0954325591, Hardcover, Corvo Books, £13.99)

A clue inside a neglected square piano made in 1807, leads Madeline Goold on a quest to uncover the identities of the people who had owned and played it.
This biography of a now almost-forgotten instrument, which once held pride of place in drawing-rooms throughout Britain and its Empire, is a journey through two centuries of musical lives.
The author travels back in time and enters the musical world of Georgian England to meet the people who built and played the square piano that she found two hundred years later.

She discovers that the original owner was a north-country musician, struggling to make a living and educate his children in the early years of the Industrial Revolution; traces the story of his square piano and sets it and Mr. Langshaw and his remarkable family, against the broader musical and social history of their time.

In his youth John Langshaw met and studied with some of the most celebrated musicians in Georgian London. He returned to his home town in the north of England with first-hand knowledge of the square piano, a new keyboard instrument that was taking the capital by storm, and he spent the next fifty years teaching music and distributing pianos on behalf of John Broadwood, the most successful English piano maker of the day.

Mr. Langshaw brought music to a part of the country where no one before him could even play Handel's Lessons, let alone teach them; in doing so he also brought the social change that accompanied the piano

about our lecturer:

"After reading law at the London School of Economics and a period in legal practice, I returned to college to do a Foundation Course, and a Fine Art degree; I studied sculpture with John Paddison, Jacob Epstein's last assistant. While researching an M.Phil on direct carving at the Barber Institute, Birmingham University I was mentored by Walter Ritchie, Eric Gill's last apprentice, who encouraged me to continue to carve full time.

As an accredited lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS), and a London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) gold medallist, I lecture throughout the UK on art, music and wildlife.

I have taught sculpture in schools, workshops and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and made for public, commercial and private commissions. Solo sculpture and print exhibitions include How Like an Angel for the centenary of the composer Gerald Finzi, and The Peace of Eden celebrating the poetry of Thomas Traherne for the Ludlow Secret Gardens Festival.

Read more at her personal website