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Ex Libris

Marie Lachenal's concertina on ebay?

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Jeremy,

No doubt this is an interesting instrument, but I see some "red flags". Firstly, the likelihood this is actually one of Marie Lachenal's personal instruments is slight. Secondly, the seller refers to the buttons as "steel buttons"*. And lastly, the seller says he will NOT accept a return of this instrument.

This instrument has many features of a premium English Lachenal instrument. (extensive leather tooling & silver inlays and *SILVER BUTTONS) But the wood grain appearance is not "right". The premium models would have been of Rosewood or Amboina wood construction. The seller admits the bellows are in poor shape. (4 folds have leaks, or 4 leaks total; the description is sort of unclear to me) I'm more of the mind that this MIGHT be a "Marie Lachenal MODEL" English, rather than one of her personal instruments. A premium model English, very similar to the lady's performance instrument. It's altogether possible the Lachenal company might issue a model in honor of it's CEO's performing daughter.

Concertina.com has several articles on Marie Lachenal and performers of that era, with pictures. I also seem to remember a site that can give rough estimates on Lachenal concertina ages, using the serial number. (I'm sorry, but I can't seem to locate the site address.) You could research this instrument, but I wouldn't assume this is a historically valuable instrument, nor base my bids on such an assumption. If at all possible, either examine the instrument personally, or have it examined by an expert, before bidding or buying it. I'm convinced it will need (at least) moderate repairs, before it would be playable.

I wish you the very best in your research and bids for this interesting instrument! Cordially, KerryF

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I had a look and my main impression was bad about the screw below the Marie Lachenal plate, Surely it is of lower quality than Marie deserved. It may tell us more about younger owners. The bellows don't look too bad, although you only see one side of them.

 

Indeed there is no hard evidence for Maries ownership, but still it could be specially made for Marie Lachenal, why not?

 

... the wood grain appearance is not "right". The premium models would have been of Rosewood or Amboina wood construction.

 

If the concertina was for a special person (like your own daughter), it could be a reason to make it look special and to use another kind of veneer (for others it may even be a reason to use the cheapest ply wood there is)...

 

If there is a Lachenal model named after Marie Lachenal, I suppose that at least one member of the forum must have heard of its existance before...

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Looks like partridge wood and silver a desirable set of materials in the 19th century and would be fitting for someone a bit special.Regards David.

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Looks like partridge wood ...

That's interesting, I've only heard of partridge wood once before and that was from a man who was the last of a long line of wooden flute makers - he reckoned it was what a lot of the cheaper antique flutes are made of, that people think are cocuswood (and he should know - since his family made many of them!), but they don't look anything like these ends. They'd remind me more of the lacewood veneer you used to get in railway carriages in Britain... :unsure:

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Looks like partridge wood ...

That's interesting, I've only heard of partridge wood once before and that was from a man who was the last of a long line of wooden flute makers - he reckoned it was what a lot of the cheaper antique flutes are made of, that people think are cocuswood (and he should know - since his family made many of them!), but they don't look anything like these ends. They'd remind me more of the lacewood veneer you used to get in railway carriages in Britain... :unsure:

Hi Stephen, you may be right I am only going from memory.Whenever I had an item in "partridge wood" it was of better than than normal quality.Items such as tea caddies and fitted boxes,nearly always dating from between 1800-1900.I have only ever seen it used in veneer which could be either scarcity or more likely as with most heavily figured woods,instability.

I think lacewood is from the plane tree and is usually quite pale with less elongated (squarer)whitish markings.Regards David.

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Guest Peter Laban

I have a C flute in Partridge wood and while it is more associated with furniture making (I know the maker of this flute lived next door to a furniture maker in Australia at the time he made the flute and there was some exchange of woods between them. This man was for example also the source of the Zebrano used for the bellows of my set of pipes. ) It's fine wood for a flute. I wouldn't mistake it for cocus but maybe different staining processes were let loose on the wood by different flutemakers.

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Partridge , I dont think so!

No one in their right minds would use this, it is almost impossible to work with hand tools and it is also very heavy.

The timber looks more like She Oak from Australia or at a pinch Tasmanian Oak.

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As far as I know it is snakewood. If I remember correctly Jürgen Suttner made a few of his early instruments with this wood. Anyway I have seen it on concertinas... You can find pictures of snakewood if you google it.

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It's certainly not Snakewood. Apart from anything Snakewood is always riddled with tiny shakes, which make it useless for fretwork.

 

I think Partridgewood is a good call, but there are at least two species that cabinet makers call partridge wood: 'Real' Partridgewood (Andira Inermis) comes from S America and is a tonewood very similar to Cocobolo apart from the figure (its no harder to work than Rosewood or Blackwood). This stuff is what woodwind makers use. The other thing that is commonly called Partridgewood is oak that has been attacked by pocket rot. Raw, the two woods are very different, but once finished they are almost indistinguishable. But since we are talking about a manufacturer who is buying in large quantites of Rosewood, I think it is most likely to be Andira Inermis, from the same source.

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Partridge wood, snakewood, Andira Inermis? Agreed that the veneer seems a little exotic, does this increase the strength of the vendor's claim that this concertina was made for Marie Lachenal or not, do you think?

 

Chris

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I have consulted the Delphic Oracle on things wood recognition (Robin at Lincolnshire Woodcrafts) and he is of the same opinion as me "Quarter sawn She Oak" or at a pinch another Australian Oak. Partridge? dont be daft!

Without any prompting his first response was "She Oak ,quarter sawn."

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I'd say it was one of those terrible weeds, casuarina, otherwise known as she-oak. As for partridge, which part of a partridge is big enough..?

 

Chris

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The "Marie Lachenal" plate looks a bit cheap and tacky to me. If it had been one of her personal instruments, and presumably specially made for her, wouldn't you expect a more substantial plate inlaid into the wood?

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Partridge wood, snakewood, Andira Inermis? Agreed that the veneer seems a little exotic ...

Chris,

 

Well it would date from the mid-1860s, and in their 1862 Price List Lachenal's did offer their de-luxe model No. 8 in amboyna, coromandel or zebra woods, "or any description of wood preferred".

 

... does this increase the strength of the vendor's claim that this concertina was made for Marie Lachenal or not, do you think?

Not necessarily, though it would have been a "special" rather than a production item. It certainly isn't the instrument Marie is holding in her photos, which has hand-cut metal corner inlays;

 

marie-lachenal-standing-with-concer.jpg Marie-Lachenal-seated-with-concerti.jpg

similar to those on the very highly ornamented #15347 (in my collection);

 

Chambers-Michaelstein-018-W400H300.jpg

 

Chambers-Michaelstein-017-W300H400.jpg

Indeed, there now seem to be grounds to think that this very fancy instrument could have been made in 1865, when the sisters were performing - so it's tempting to speculate that it could have been made for one of them... :unsure:

 

(It was certainly made for a very special purpose, or customer.)

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