John Maple opened his 'Wholesale and Retail Drapery Shop' in London's Tottenham Court Road in 1841. From the start, the firm aimed at an upper-class clientele, not only in London, but also in the English shires, to whose country mansions Maples supplied furniture made to exacting standards by their own craftsmen and upholsterers. Nobility and gentry drove to the vast Tottenham Court Road emporium to spend the day perambulating the huge inventory of furniture and fabrics, which they had seen illustrated in 400-page catalogues and which were displayed here in 'specimen rooms' reflecting the comfortable elegance of their town and country mansions. By the 1870s, when the enterprise was taken over by Maple's ambitious son, Blundell, the firm's renown was such that no palace, hotel, theatre, concert hall or town hall was considered to be in the top league unless furnished and decorated by Maples. Internationally, too, Maples was much in demand, and by the final decade of the century, the company frequently received commissions to supply furnishings to royal palaces, such as that of the King of Siam in Bangkok, for the Duke of Sparta in Athens, and for the Tsarina Alexandra at the Alexander Palace at Tsarkoe Selo. At this same time, Maples also began doing a large trade in both upright and grand pianos, designing and supplying cases for the movements supplied by other firms.
Blüthner, the celebrated firm of Leipzig piano-makers, was founded in November 1853 by Julius Blüthner (d. 1910). After successfully showing his pianos at the Industrial Exhibition in 1854, Julius had his pianos accepted by the Leipzig Conservatory of Music. The quality of his instruments was considered such that subsequent demand increased from all over the world and, by 1864, not only did the firm employ 137 workers, but a large network of distributors was set up to expand sales.
It has not been possible to date the present piano exactly due to the unusual absence of a serial number anywhere on the Blüthner movement. However, given that the last date recorded on the Exhibition label pasted to it reads 1883, and that Blüthner was a regular exhibitor at the principal trade shows of the last decades of the century, it seems reasonable to assume that the movement, at least, was manufactured around 1890. This ties in well with the popular revival of the Adam style during the final years of Queen Victoria's reign and the short Edwardian period that followed.