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English harp makers: A web of relationships

That Sebastien Erard was the first of the new harp makers in London is undeniable. Not only was his company the nexus for the harp-buying public, it was from there that many second-, third- and forth-generation makers would come. Apprenticeship, despite being in decline as a mode of training, was at the heart of harp making, and Erard indentured future harp makers in the fields of wood-working, mechanics and finishing; however, he also employed cabinetmakers, and clock- and clock-case makers. Movement between makers was common. The following family tree, a preview taken from my forthcoming book, 'Harp Making in Late-Georgian England', shows these relationships and indentifies four first-generation makers; namely Erard, Erat, Dodd and Stumpff from whom the others originated. Inevitably there are missing links here; hopefully more evidence will come to light to identify these. The various sources are long and convoluted, particularly those that trace dates and addresses, so I won't go into those here. I hope that this, together with the text from the book, will help to date instruments and to estimate how many each maker made. Do feel free to comment. I'd be interested to know if I missed any of the larger makers; there is a section on minor makers in the book which I hope will be available soon after the world veneers itself with a semblance of normality.


Information about 'Harp Making in Late-Georgian England' can be found here - http://www.mike-baldwin.net

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Mike Baldwin
Mike Baldwin
2020年4月12日

Thanks Lewis. The diagram, as you've indicated is broadly chronological from top to bottom. I wanted to show the links between makers - who started where etc. I've tried added dates but it gets a bit messy. However, the following diagram (also from the book) shows where the various makers were and when (I need to add one or two smaller makers to this). I think the breadth of information is better shown across two diagrams.



Robert, Schwieso dates are c1784-1846. He was in England by 1808 (probably from Hanover). A family letter (c1980) places his family's origin as Gross or Klein Schwiesow, Mecklenburg. He was clearly a bit of a rogue. He gave his age in the 1841 ce…

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Robert Adelson
Robert Adelson
2020年4月12日

Dear Lewis,

The Erards mention the Meyer family of harpists numerous times in their correspondence, well before this letter of 23 March 1819, and they always refer to them as close friends, often by first name. It would therefore seem that when Pierre Erard wrote 'a young man named Meyer, a German and his [Schwieso’s] brother in-law' he was referring to a Meyer unknown to him and his uncle Sébastien. Otherwise, he would have mentioned his relation to the Meyers they knew so well.

Might anyone have a birth and/or a death date for John Charles Schwieso?

All best wishes,

Robert

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Lewis Jones
Lewis Jones
2020年4月12日

Dear Mike,

Thank you for posting this. Might I ask you to explain a bit more how your stemmatic diagram is intended to work? I appreciate that there is a broadly chronoloical progression from top to bottom, and that you intend to present dates elsewhere, but where, for example, four makers linked in a horizontal row are shown descending from Delveau, what relationship between the four are we to understand?

Might it also be possible, by extending the diagram vertically, to include dates, or to show graphically at least the start date of each maker's independence?

Also, noting Robert's comment here about Schwieso having 'just formed a partnership with a young man named Meyer, a German, and his brother in-…

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Mike Baldwin
Mike Baldwin
2020年4月12日

Apologies Robert, some of the text in my response has changed colour - I can't work this out at the moment. I think it is still just about legible. Mike

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Mike Baldwin
Mike Baldwin
2020年4月12日

Thanks Robert, Some of this, such as the Erard, Dodd, Schwieso triangle, are covered in the book but not (as you've seen) in the diagram. I've tried to keep it simple, but I could look at adding such links if you think that helps. I've written about the movement of some named employees, for instance Fryer/Freyer/Frayer who left (was fired by) Erard for Erat, and who is then mentioned in Robert Willis's diary working for the latter making poles, necks and stools. I've not mentioned Meyer beyond Pierre reporting that Schwieso had set-up in partnership with Meyer's brother-in-law - I couldn't untangle the Erard, Meyer, Schwieso relationship. The proliferation of ideas (theft) by movement is covered in a chapte…

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