Johann Kilianus Merken in Paris 1785
5 octave FF-f'''' - English simple action
As far as the researches show, he was the first piano maker in France. There is a book about his factory and surviving pianos written by Jean Francois Weber which also includes a CD recording.
There are only a few early Mercken pianos and this is one of them. The oldest one is from 1770 which shows that he must have been making pianos even a few years earlier than 1770s like Zumpe in London.
Both of these pioneers were immigrant Germans. Most of the piano makers in Paris and London were Germans.
Square piano Tafelklavier Piano carré
Mercken piano carre Square piano
Francois Boieldieu the famous French composer
Painted by Louis-Léopold Boilly, ca. 1800.
He is standing next to his Mercken square piano.
In the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon : This portrait is painted by François-André Vincent 1793. The beautiful lady is Rosalie Duplant, a famous Opera star, seated at her Mercken square piano. She was a soprano and sang Cybèle in Atys by Piccini. The music is titled "Air d’Atys". Mercken square pianos were among the most sought after and loved ones in France and neighbor countries.