Not the real piano, but they believe that Jane's piano looked like this one
But it is Austen, the famous literary figure of the Regency era, who has brought Baird to Perth. Under the title Jane Austen's Songbook, Baird will sing the music that Austen - a talented amateur musician - played for an hour each morning, virtually all her adult life. Austen's love for the piano was typical of her day. The new pianoforte was considered an essential, if expensive, item in middle and upper-class English homes. It triggered a proliferation of printed music and female musicianship: women could play and perform in the privacy of their own home.
"Jane must have been pretty accomplished because she was frequently asked to play while the others did regency dances," Baird says. "One of the most popular piano pieces of the era, The Battle of Prague by Frantisek Koczwara, . . . was considered the height of technique to which a young woman should aspire.
They had been found in Austen's beloved Berkshire home, Chawton Cottage: two volumes of piano music (one that she collected, one hand-copied), one copied songbook, bound books of favourite songs and music from her mother.
"When she was dying she developed a palsy in her hand that made her unable to write but not to play the piano. She was serious about her playing."