Chopin's Last Piano

Hidden secrets of the great virtuoso's last instrument

By The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Paweł Bień (Chopin Institute)

Grand piano Pleyel, serial number 14810, Fryderyk Chopin last piano (1848) by Ignace Pleyel & Compie.The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The heart of the museum

One of the most closely guarded treasures of the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw is the last piano owned by the composer. It would be difficult to imagine this place without this extraordinary instrument today; however, a few decades ago its fate was not at all certain...

Place Vendôme en de Colonne Vendôme te Parijs (1887 - 1900) by X phot.Rijksmuseum

Place Vendôme

Chopin changed his address in Paris as many as eight times. The composer's last apartment was on Place Vendôme. There stood the piano which is kept in our museum today.

Letter from Jane Stirling to Ludwika Jędrzejewicz in Warsaw (1851-06-14) by Jane StirlingThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Who will buy the piano?

After the composer's death on October 17, 1849, the instrument was put up for auction. It was purchased by a Scottish aristocrat, student and admirer of Chopin, Jane Stirling. However, she decided to pass the priceless gift to someone else...
 

Piano and chair (20. Century) by UnknownThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Pour Louise

On the inside of the instrument frame, we can find a dedication written in ink, "pour Louise", i.e. for Ludwika. It was precisely Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa, Fryderyk's beloved sister, who received her late brother's piano from Stirling. This is not the only note it bears.

14810

In various places of the soundboard, the serial number 14810 is stamped, given at the time of production by the manufacturer: the renowned Pleyel brand.

Grand piano Pleyel, serial number 14810, Fryderyk Chopin last piano (1848) by Ignace Pleyel & Compie.The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The gold-coloured plate

The achievements of the Pleyel company are also listed on a gold-coloured plate placed above the keyboard. In addition to the name of the company, it contains information about the numerous medals awarded to it.

Platinum 12 rubles of Tsar Nicholas I (1830/1830)British Museum

The Tsarist eagle

There are many surprises waiting for us inside the instrument. One of them is the seal with the tsarist eagle. Most probably it was placed there in 1850, when the piano was brought to Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa's Warsaw apartment from Paris.

Grand piano Pleyel, serial number 14810, Fryderyk Chopin last piano (1848) by Ignace Pleyel & Compie.The Fryderyk Chopin Institute

Number 44427 MN

Under the keyboard, we can find the handwritten number 44427 MN. This is the signature of the object from the time when the piano, donated by Ludwika Jędrzejewiczowa's heirs, was brought to the National Museum of Warsaw. Most likely, the number was added in 1924.

Fryderyk Chopin Museum (20. Century) by Neumann Maria–HiszpańskaThe Fryderyk Chopin Institute

The most valuable remembrance of Chopin

During the Second World War, the priceless instrument was seized by the Germans and taken away from Warsaw. Fortunately, it returned to Poland shortly after the war. 

The National Museum donated it to the Fryderyk Chopin Museum, where visitors from all over the world admire this most valuable remembrance of Chopin to this day. 

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