In Search of the King of Instruments

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À la recherche de l’instrument roi Tome 1 (In Search of the King of instruments Volume 1) is French photographer and amateur pianist Romain Thiery’s latest art book about pianos. 

photo of cover of the book

The work is a visual documentation of Thiery’s quest to discover forgotten and distressed pianos in castles and country houses across Europe. And there are far more such instruments in existence than you would ever imagine.

Thiery’s 2018 book “Requiem for Pianos” (now sold out), published in 2018, featured 59 instruments discovered by the photographer on trips made between 2008 and 2017.

image of grand piano in derelict building
An abandoned piano in a dilapidated French castle

In Volume 1 of this new series Thiery photographs more of the pianos he’s uncovered in derelict and neglected buildings. The trips of discovery were made to France and Italy between 2008 and 2020.

Unique Content

The book includes 80 remarkable images. These are accompanied by Thiery’s personal notes, anecdotes, and historical research. It is a visually enticing form of travel diary.

The introduction, written by Emmanuel Cirrode, reveals how Thiery creates such stunning photographs… 

His routine is now settled. He slips into these ballrooms, mansions, manors or castles whilst it is still dark, to capture the morning light which spreads softness in sleeping spaces.

photo showing text on left with image of upright piano in hall of hospital on right
A spread showing an old upright in a 19th century Italian psychiatric hospital

And it is interesting to note how easily Thiery gains access to many of the buildings — often he finds he can just walk straight in.

Throughout the book, Thiery also includes graphic images illustrating how time and neglect cause the sad internal degradation and decay of these once great buildings.

À la recherche de l’instrument roi Tome 1 is now available from Romain Thiery’s website. The book, a limited edition, is written in both French and English.

Title: À la recherche de l’instrument roi Tome 1
ISBN: 978-2-9575420-0-0
Author: Romain Thiery
Texts: Romain Thiery and Emmanuel Cirrode
Photography: Romain Thiery
Dimensions: 200×250 mm
Binding: Card cover with flaps, square spine sewn and glued
No. Of Pages: 120
Production Run: Limited to 500 copies
Price: €39.00
(approx $47.00)


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