Rönisch pianos are known as some of the most prestigious German instruments of the 19th Century. Carl Rönisch opened his piano workshop in Dresden in 1845, and was known for the quality of his instruments, and the tone that they created. Rönisch pianos had cast-iron frames, and thus the strings could be tightened to a higher tension, which made the tone very different from wooden framed instruments.
This particular instrument is very important in Australian music history. It was imported by Nicholson & Co, the leading piano importers and sellers during the 19th and 20th centuries in Australia. This piano was commissioned by Nicholson & Co in 1880, and was then displayed at the First International Festival in Melbourne in 1880. Afterwards, it was displayed in Nicholson & Co shopfronts in both Melbourne and Sydney. In 1972, Mr John Crowley (a Melbourne-based jazz pianist) purchased the instrument. The ANU Keyboard Institute acquired the instrument from Mr Crowley in 2006. Given its long history in Australia, the piano is classified as a ‘Class B’ historical object, meaning that it can never been removed from Australia, and that it is an object of cultural significance.