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823

Richard Potter

London, England

Stamp: On headjoint: POTTER / JOHNSON'S COURT / FLEET STREET / LONDON. On all other joints: POTTER / LONDON. Additionally on footjoint: PATENT.

Comments: I have always loved the Potter flutes, which really caused a revolution in flute playing. Potter's workshop was perhaps the most successful of his day, and continued to supply professionals through Richard and his son Wm. Henry, up to the formation of Rudall & Rose, who took over as suppliers to the profession and amateurs. Richard Potter made a lot of flutes, and he held the patent for the very popular tuning slide. He turned his success into a veritable production line for flutes. All of his instruments after 1785 share certain signs of the Potter shop, which are sure indicators of authentic Potter flutes. Potter was perhaps the most copied of all flutemakers.

Material: This Mozart-era flute is made of lovely boxwood, with ivory trim and 6 silver keys. The pads are Potter's patented pewter plugs. There is no tuning slide in the headjoint. The springs are all replaced with new brass. The corkscrew is turned ivory. The instrument plays with a strong, loud, lively, and rich tone. Pitch A=425-430.

System: The six keyed flute was first used in London around 1765. Richard Potter was an early exponent of these instruments, and made many beautiful 6 keyed flutes, with a specialty in lovely solid ivory instruments. In 1785 he patented the use of pewter plugs and a metal lining in the headjoint with a barrel at the socket. This flute is the product of Potter's post-1785 workshop, yet built in the old style, without a metal-lined headjoint. It is thus perfect for playing earlier music.

Condition: The condition of this flute is absolutely perfect, except for the replacement of the old springs. The wood is unblemished, with no cracks. The original polish is intact. The embouchure and tone holes are as new. The new springs work with ease. The pewter plugs all seat, and the low C is very strong.

Pitch: Pitched at c. A=425-430.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 607 mm.

Measurements: Embouchure 10 x 9.7 mm.

Weight: 299g.

Case: In possibly original, certainly contemporary case. The name, "I N Hibbert 1811" is carefully carved into the top of the case.

Sorry, Sold.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

Richard Potter became perhaps the most influential English classical flutemaker.  He was a pioneer in making 6 keyed flutes, with a footjoint to C, and he was the inventor and patent holder of the pewter plug keys and headjoint tuning slide.
Mozart was familiar with Potter flutes, and composed the flute and harp concerto for a Potter player.
Richard Potter became perhaps the most influential English classical flutemaker. He was a pioneer in making 6 keyed flutes, with a footjoint to C, and he was the inventor and patent holder of the pewter plug keys and headjoint tuning slide. Mozart was familiar with Potter flutes, and composed the flute and harp concerto for a Potter player.
This rare and beautiful flute is nestled in what may well be the original box.  The box top is carved with an owners name,
This rare and beautiful flute is nestled in what may well be the original box. The box top is carved with an owners name, "IN Hibbert, 1811".
Potter held the patent for these pewter plugs, which were used on all professional English flutes until the cylinder flute was invented in 1847.  The vaulted C shank, which goes over the C# key, was Potter's original early design.  This was quickly determined to be easily bent, and the shank was laid flat around 1795, at the latest.
Potter held the patent for these pewter plugs, which were used on all professional English flutes until the cylinder flute was invented in 1847. The vaulted C shank, which goes over the C# key, was Potter's original early design. This was quickly determined to be easily bent, and the shank was laid flat around 1795, at the latest.
The right hand joint shows the new F natural key, and the touches for the new C and C# footjoint keys.  This is not much more than just a modified one-keyed flute, and the old fingerings were retained.
The right hand joint shows the new F natural key, and the touches for the new C and C# footjoint keys. This is not much more than just a modified one-keyed flute, and the old fingerings were retained.
Potter always ended his footjoint springs with a
Potter always ended his footjoint springs with a "P" shape where the rivet passes through. On these new springs the shape more resembles Bart Simpson's profile, but the idea is still there. The numeral "IX" (or XI) is scratched under the key to keep these keys with this body in the shop.
Here we see the empty shaft for the D# key, with the numeral
Here we see the empty shaft for the D# key, with the numeral "IX" cut into the wood, to keep the body and keys together. We can also see the pewter plug seat, fixed into the wood of the flute.
The Potter embouchure hole is a beauty to behold, and this one is in perfect condition.  It is relatively small, at 10 x 9.7 mm.
The Potter embouchure hole is a beauty to behold, and this one is in perfect condition. It is relatively small, at 10 x 9.7 mm.
A slight chip on the tip of the ivory corkscrew is perhaps the only blemish on this very fine flute.
The Potter workshop may have made more flutes than anyone else in London, yet their standards were always consistent.
A slight chip on the tip of the ivory corkscrew is perhaps the only blemish on this very fine flute. The Potter workshop may have made more flutes than anyone else in London, yet their standards were always consistent.
Potter had an eye for small touches of grace, and his early footjoints include the delicate ornament of a little dimple where the shank meets the touch.  This as dropped when the C shank was flattened.
Potter had an eye for small touches of grace, and his early footjoints include the delicate ornament of a little dimple where the shank meets the touch. This as dropped when the C shank was flattened.
The inside of the headjoint socket shows the unlined headjoint.The inside of the headjoint socket shows the unlined headjoint.