Dr Mike Baldwin : Organologist : Historian : Researcher : Writer: Harp maker : Restorer


Erat Ledger (1821-1824)

Central to my doctoral thesis and forthcoming book, I was fortunate to discover a substantial body of hitherto unrecognised documents pertaining to the Erat company in 2007. Comprising an accounts journal (1821–1824), cashbook (1821–1826), inventory (1824), property leases (1812, 1816 and 1821), and the last will and testament (1821) of Jacob Erat (i), they open a window on a major London harp manufactory during the first quarter of the nineteenth century.

Catalogued as ‘Master Horne’s exhibits: Sharp versus Erat’, these documents served as evidence in a chancery court case between George Sharp (one of Jacob Erat’s executors) and the Erat family. The reasons for this litigation are unclear as only incomplete court records survive. Horne was the seventh and final Master (1839–1853) of the Courts of Chancery, and it is likely that the documents were transferred to the Public Record Office sometime after 1838, although the accession date is not recorded.

The documents below are transcriptions of the Erat Company's harp sales and hire (21 February 1821 - 29 June 1824), taken from the only known surviving sales ledger. Harps (single- and double-action) are listed by serial number, their actions described, and their decorative forms (colour, gilt type, and ornamentation) are noted. Customers' names and addressed are listed followed by price paid.  Less information was recorded about harps on hire; single-actions were leased at 1 guinea per month, and double-actions at 2 guineas.  Short leases were possible (e.g. for one night), and monies paid could be discounted against purchases.