The RCM Library has an important set of ledgers from the firm of Bechstein, and the Centre for Performance History holds four volumes of photographs of designs for pianos, both grand and upright. These were presumably given to potential customers, so that they could select the design that was most consonant with their interior decorations or musical tastes. The 'Rheingold' design was one of the visually most opulent and most expensive (at £1000) on offer. By the 1890s Wagner's music was all the rage in London, though it was often left to visiting German companies - such as the Hamburg Stadtoper in 1892, with Mahler as conductor - to give complete performances of the later music dramas.
C. Bechstein : Full Concert Grand “Rheingold” Design
B&W photograph, 15 x 22.5 cm.