I’ve come across a company www.georgejackson.com who have been in business since 1780 and originally supplied Erard who was charged £66, apparently in 1811 (‘To 55 harps ornamentd compleat @ 24/-) with some of the compo decoration for the Grecian harps. George Jackson Ltd. still has the original sample board, photo below, and many of the original wooden moulds. Just wondered if anyone was aware of this resource?
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many thanks for sharing this information. I have been in contact with the George Jackson company since 2015 regarding the Erard moulds. In April 2016 I personally visited the company's premises for research related to my current harp project at the Deutsches Museum, Munich (the German museum Jon mentioned in his comment). Back then I had an interesting talk with the director, David Serra, who kindly showed me around the workshop and explained to me the process of making composition ornaments. I also took some photos of the large board, which includes a set of ornaments for Erard's Grecian model. According to David Serra, the Erard moulds are mostly boxwood moulds; the company owns thousands of such moulds, with samples mounted on boards like this at their premises. I also managed to locate some generic moulds for ornaments used on harps, such as lines of beads applied on the bottom of the capital or the soundbox. I have presented and discussed these moulds in my conference papers:
Panagiotis Poulopoulos, ‘Shedding New Light on the Production Strategies of Erard’. Joint Conference of the Galpin Society and the American Musical Instrument Society (AMIS), Musical Instrument Museums (MIMEd), Edinburgh, 1 to 4 June 2017.
Panagiotis Poulopoulos, ‘Composition Ornaments on Historic Harps: From Research to Exhibition’. Annual Conference of CIMCIM ‘Presentation, Preservation, Interpretation – The Challenges of Musical Instrument Collections in the 21st Century’, co-organized by various institutions in Basel and Bern, 22 to 25 February 2017.
I have also discussed briefly Jackson's work for Erard in the following articles:
Panagiotis Poulopoulos and Julin Lee, ‘A Synergy of Form, Function and Fashion in the Manufacture of the Erard Harp’ in Marco A. Pérez and Emanuele Marconi (eds.), Wooden Musical Instruments: Different Forms of Knowledge (Paris: Cité de la Musique - Philharmonie de Paris, 2018), pp. 367-398.
Panagiotis Poulopoulos, Marisa Pamplona, Luise Richter, and Elke Cwiertnia, ‘Technological Study of the Decoration on an Erard Harp from 1818’, Studies in Conservation (to be published in 2019).
I hope that further research will enhance our knowledge about the moulds themselves as well as about aspects of subcontracting in the instrument-making business. Please keep us informed in case you arrange a visit to Jackson's.
To plan a visit it's best to use this address: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Thank you, Lewis.
Casting in composition is fascinating. Lewis and I recently had an opportunity to watch this in action using one of my moulds. It's one of those things you could easily become addicted to - its a very pleasing and somewhat therapeutic process! There's a few photos here - http://www.mike-baldwin.net/Compo.html. I can be reached at email@example.com. I will try to post something on the blog about the process later.
Happy to arrange a visit but perhaps anyone interested could let me have their email addresses to narrow everyone’s availability down to offer to GJ, as perhaps this Forum is not the best vehicle for all the back and forth of suggested dates/ arrangements?
David at Jacksons was genuinely surprised that someone had shown an interest in the moulds and knew what they were, so he is as interested as we are to find out what they have and was going to start hunting things out ready for our visit. I think that he will be learning as much about his stock from the visit as we will.
It never ceases to amaze me the quality of the workmanship in the original relief moulds and it’s great to see so many originals in Mike’s collection. I would one day like the opportunity of playing with a real carving and “pressing the compo” as I must confess to having gone over to the “dark side” and use modern silicone and resins to make moulds now. Email addresses please?
I would very much like to join the proposed visit to George Jackson Ltd in Sutton.
Thanks and best wishes, Lewis.
Thanks for this Jon - it's wonderful to see this board. I'd be very keen to see what moulds they have in their archive and would certainly make time to visit George Jackson's - 'Take the forum on tour' as you put it. I have a substantial collection of Erard and Morley composition moulds, a sample of which are shown on my website - http://www.mike-baldwin.net/Harps--Images--Objects.html, but I suspect that Jacksons have a more complete set. I wonder if they also have moulds that were made by Jacksons for Dodd.
I was looking for an acanthus leaf for another project and the web search took me to George Jackson. I sent an email enquiry mentioning the Harp decoration and David from GJ came back really interested. Although he knew about the Erard connection, other than a German museum, no one to his knowledge had ever enquired about the harp decorations in the past. He has kindly offered to make the board and any other relevant pieces available for inspection, see mail below. To save taking up too much of his time, perhaps we could organise a visit for any interested parties to view the items all in one go? Take the Forum on tour?