19th Century Music Room

19th century music room

- Thomas Moore (1779-1852), Irish poet, singer, songwriter and entertainer

During the 19th century, music rooms became popular with the upper classes. Rooms were designed and furnished to enhance the music, support the performer, and create an ambiance for the audience.


The piano was placed in the room in such a way that the soprano part of the keyboard was toward the listener. Upright pianos were placed at an angle from the wall to increase the acoustic effect and ensure that the player was in view.

Piano chair, by Robert Strahan, Dublin, Irish, c.1850. Walnut music chair with balloon back and carved cabriole legs. Mechanism under centre to raise the seat.

During the Victorian era the performer would use either a piano stool or a revolving chair. These were gracefully designed, inlaid with wood and elaborately carved.

Irish musical instrument makers achieved considerable fame during this period. John Egan was the leading Irish harp maker, working in Dublin from 1801-1841. He made more than two thousand harps and became famous for his invention of the “Royal Portable harp.” Measuring three feet in height, its size was considered ideal for society ladies.

You can see a video of Nancy Hurrell playing a portable Irish harp by John Egan here.Links to external website

harp detail

The harps were made in black, blue or green and were elaborately hand-painted with gold shamrocks. Piano maker Samuel Morland, whose workshops were in Mecklenburgh street Lower from 1809 to 1832, produced pianos and harpsichords in mahogany and rosewood.

The popularity of the glass harp, invented by Irishman Richard Pockrich in 1741, continued until well into the 19th century. You can see one of these unusual instruments being played at www.roberttiso.comLinks to external website or read more about Richard Pockrich and the Glass Harp here.

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