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In Memoriam: Gary M. Stewart (1953-2009)
Among some of his most memorable restorations are the serpents in the NMM’s collections; the upright grand piano by Clementi and Co., London, ca. 1818 (NMM 2761, the legs of which had once been shortened to accommodate a low ceiling); an historically appropriate stand for the harpsichord by Gommaar van Everbroeck, Antwerp, 1659 (NMM 3985); the stage-prop trumpet by Dominick Calicchio, Hollywood, California, 1978, used in the movie, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (NMM 6176); the disc music box by F. G. Otto and Sons, Jersey City, New Jersey, 1896-1897 (sold by the Equitable Manufacturing Company, Iowa City, Iowa; NMM 2521), the gears of which seemed to be constantly in need of repair from use; the long-necked lute (mayuri), made in India in 19th century (NMM 2903); the alto slide trombone by Johann Christoph Fiebig, Berngrund, Saxony, 1771 (NMM 5946); and innumerable brass, woodwind, stringed, and percussion instruments.
During a sabbatical in 1988, Stewart became a Conservation Consultant for the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he later held a Mellon Foundation Fellowship, a Samuel H. Kress Foundation Fellowship for Advanced Training in Conservation, and was hired as an Assistant Conservator in the Research Laboratory in European Decorative Arts (1990-1993). While in Boston, Stewart cleaned and restored many important early brasswind instruments, including the earliest surviving alto saxophone made in Paris by Adolphe Sax (ca. 1848). Other restorations at the MFA included an over-the-shoulder trombone by Frans Joseph von Engelen, Liere, Belgium (1840); a bass horn by Thomas Key, London (1807-1813); an experimental cornet with two leadpipes made by Isaac Fiske, Worcester, Massachusetts (ca. 1870); and, a Belgian double-piston-valve trumpet made in by Mahillon (ca. 1840). Stewart also made a functional replica of a salpinx—an ancient Greek trumpet—from the MFA’s Ancient World Collection.
Throughout his career, Stewart was called upon as a consultant for the conservation and evaluation of musical instruments in various public and private collections, including those in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Doug Lehrer Collection, Sioux Falls; the Henry Meredith Collection in London, Ontario; the instrument collection at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg; the Rosenbaum Collection in Scarsdale, New York; the Moore Collection in New York; the collection at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; the conservation of silver objects for the Department of State; and, many other private collections.