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Piano is crown jewel of 'Orchestrating Elegance' exhibit

Piano is crown jewel of 'Orchestrating Elegance' exhibit

Clark purchased showpiece instrument for $1.2 million in 1997
Piano is crown jewel of 'Orchestrating Elegance' exhibit
Lawrence Alma-Tadema designed this piano in the 1880s.
Photographer: Courtesy Clark Art Institute

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — If only this piano could talk.

The crown jewel of the exhibit “Orchestrating Elegance” is a piano forte designed by Gilded Age artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema and made by Steinway and Sons in the 1880s.

Inlaid with ebony, ivory, coral, abalone and many other decorative elements, it was elaborate heart of a music room that Alma-Tadema dreamed up for Henry Marquand’s Manhattan mansion.

Many prominent musicians and composers played the instrument at private and public concerts, among them Richard Rodgers, Victor Herbert and Andre Segovia.

The Clark bought it for $1.2 million in 1997, which at the time was the highest price ever paid for a piano at auction.

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