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Musical Instruments > Flutes

+ 2011/68/1 Concert flute with case and ac...
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Four keyed flute made by John Preston, 1776 - 1834
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Object statement
Flute, four keyed, box wood / ivory / metal, made by John Preston, London, England, 1776-1834
This instrument is important in showing the early development of multiple keys on the flute during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It illustrates the progression from the single key (D#) instrument to instruments with four keys (F, G#, Bb, and D#). Additional keys were added by makers as a response to the music written at the time and the desire of performers to have more accurately pitched and brighter notes that did not rely solely on forked fingerings. Such fingerings could make notes difficult to play with the correct intonation. The flute is an example of the innovative way a technical problem was improved through creative design.

This instrument along with others in the Museum¬?s collection from around this period helps to document wind instrument making in London during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Apart from Preston makers such as Hale (flute), Cramer (clarinet) and Cahusac (oboe) are also represented. Collectively they give some indication of the types of instruments by popular London makers that would have been known and may have been used in Australia by English immigrants and visiting musicians during the colonial period.

Further Reading:

Phillip Bate, The Flute (Ernest Benn Ltd, London, 1975)

Dr Danielle Eden & Michael Lea; ¬?The Powerhouse Museum Flute Collection: Multiple Key Flutes of Less Than Eight Keys¬? in Flute Focus, Issue 16, October 2008, pp.31-33.

Ardal Powell; The Flute, (Yale University Press, USA, 2002)

John Solum, The Early Flute, (Oxford University Press, Oxford, England, 1992)

William Waterhouse; The New Langwill Index ¬? a dictionary of musical wind-instruments makers and inventors (Tony Bingham, London, 1993).


Michael Lea
Curator, music & musical instruments,
February, 2012.
  • In 1993 this flute was played by the Australian Jazz musician Don Burrows at a Soiree Musicale held at the Museum.
See another object with talking points
Preston was known to have made or sold a variety of musical instruments and also published music.
This flute was donated to the Museum as part of a collection of flutes owned by Mr Leslie Barklamb, with the assistance of Linda Vogt.

 This text content licensed under CC BY-NC.

Description
Flute, four keyed, box wood / ivory / metal, made by John Preston, London, England, 1776-1834

Four keyed boxwood flute, in four pieces with five ivory bands. The head joint (-1), is a long single piece with an ivory cap, oval mouth hole, and a slight swelling in the body near the bottom which is boarded by an ivory band. The middle joint (-2), has three uncovered finger holes and two square lever action silver keys, both ends are step cut and bound with red waxed thread. The second middle joint (-3), is shorter and narrower, with three uncovered finger holes and a horizontally placed levered, silver key, the top of this section has an ivory band which is followed by a swelling in the wood, the bottom is step cut and bound with white waxed thread. The foot joint (-4) is finished top and bottom by ivory bands and has a bulbous knop at the top where a single square silver key is attached.

Made: Preston,John; England; 1776 - 1834


Owned: Barklamb, Leslie;

: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences;
Marks
Marked PRESTON/ LONDON

Stamped on wood of middle joint of flute "PRESTON / LON__N"
Stamped on wood of second middle joint "PR___ON/ LONDON"
93/117/1
Production date
1776 - 1834

 This text content licensed under CC BY-SA.
Acquisition credit line
This instrument is part of an acquisition donated by Leslie Barklamb, Judith Turnley and Gwen Colyer, 1993
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Concise link back to this object: http://from.ph/130478
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{{cite web |url=http://from.ph/130478 |title=Four keyed flute made by John Preston |author=Powerhouse Museum |accessdate=24 November 2014 |publisher=Powerhouse Museum, Australia}}


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