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832

Nonon

Paris

Stamp: Marked on all joints: (treble clef) / NONON / PARIS. Additionally, very faintly remaining on the headjoint above the treble clef: (curved) BREVETÉ (?).

Comments: This is a very beautiful flute, clearly made with every care and thoughtfulness. The keywork is exquisite, and filled with character. The touches are all delicately shaped, and fashioned with skill and taste. The little C key for the thumb is a particular favorite. The D# key on the foot is another key with great character. The flute itself is made as a fairly heavy duty flute for a strong French sound.

Material: Made of very nicely grained dark wood, possibly "Portuguese ebony". Keys and trim of silver. Fancy engraved silver inlay at embouchure. Springs of gold.

System: This beautiful and well used flute is made in the classic Tulou system, which is essentially an eight-keyed flute with additional keys for an F# vent, a duplicate C key for the 3rd left finger, another C touch for the thumb, and trill keys for D and E. The body is one piece, without the typical socket between the G and A holes. The keys are pillar mounted, and include long hollow rod-and-pin keys á la Buffet. It has a foot to C, essentially based on the new footjoints of Godfroy and Lot, yet incredibly long! The bottom taper reverses from the C# hole. There is a short tuning slide in the headjoint socket.

Condition: This presentation flute has clearly been well used over the years. The first owner, Mr. I. L., eventually relinquished the flute, and he was followed by the Reverend Mr. T.J.J. (some script letters unclear). We cannot tell who loved this flute more, but it nearly followed someone to the grave. When the instrument arrived here it was in a terrible state. Nina spent months painstakingly bringing this flute back to life. The headjoint was held together with fancy hose clamps, the keys were all stuck; the poor flute was a mess. Happily, everything was there, and this beautiful flute is now restored to playing condition. The tone is remarkably bold throughout. All of the qualities one would expect from Tulou are there, and some wonderful surprises as well, most especially the great and loud tone. The only real remnant of the flute's past is the slightly disfigured embouchure hole. Nonon was the flutemaker and partner of Tulou from 1831 to 1853. Almost certainly he fell out of favor with the irascible Tulou as Tulou's career was winding down, in favor of the new cylindrical flutes of Godfroy and Lot. Scholars suggest this is why he set up his own shop in 1853. Nonon was one of the great Parisian flutemakers, and his instruments are very rare today.

Pitch: This instrument was made at the typical A=448 French pitch of before 1859, when pitch was decreed to go from A=448 to A=435. After 1859, this A=448 was called "Ancienne Diapason", or "AD". This does not necessarily mean that the instrument was made before 1859, since many places outside of Paris continued to use the old pitch of A=448.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 586 mm.

Measurements: Embouchure 10.3 x 11.2 mm.

Weight: 390

Case: In original, presentation wooden case with inlaid metal ornament, engraved "IL" , as is the flute mouthpiece. The interior of the case is rebuilt.

Sorry, sold 11/20/07

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

Nonon was very close to his partner and patron Tulou, for his home and the workshop was in Tulou's house.  Tulou had the first floor, Nonon the second.  For many years Nonon made the flutes marked Tulou, and was the official supplier to the Conservatoire.  In 1853 Nonon started his own business, from which this Tulou System flute was built.
Nonon was very close to his partner and patron Tulou, for his home and the workshop was in Tulou's house. Tulou had the first floor, Nonon the second. For many years Nonon made the flutes marked Tulou, and was the official supplier to the Conservatoire. In 1853 Nonon started his own business, from which this Tulou System flute was built.
The most useful key on the Tulou system is the little vent for F# (lower left side of flute).  This allowed the low F# to be raised to pitch, while retaining some cross fingerings.
The most useful key on the Tulou system is the little vent for F# (lower left side of flute). This allowed the low F# to be raised to pitch, while retaining some cross fingerings.
Here we see the F# vent touch next to the D# key, both operated by the little finger.  Nonon had a wonderful sense of aesthetics, as seen in his lovely touches.
Here we see the F# vent touch next to the D# key, both operated by the little finger. Nonon had a wonderful sense of aesthetics, as seen in his lovely touches.
All the right-angles around his G# section gives an unusually austere look to this otherwise very fluid flute.  The trill touches are for C and D trills.
All the right-angles around his G# section gives an unusually austere look to this otherwise very fluid flute. The trill touches are for C and D trills.
This lovely romp of touches is far more typical of Nonon than the square G# lines.  The left lever is the long F, on the right is the G# touch.
This lovely romp of touches is far more typical of Nonon than the square G# lines. The left lever is the long F, on the right is the G# touch.
The G# key is hallmarked with the boar's head (right), showing the piece is silver from Paris, and the makers mark of Jacques Nonon, <J&N> (where
The G# key is hallmarked with the boar's head (right), showing the piece is silver from Paris, and the makers mark of Jacques Nonon, (where "&" is the treble clef).
This instrument is the highest class of flutes from the Nonon workshop, and was built as a presentation piece for Mr. I. L (I think the first letter is an I, not a J).  The case is also monogrammed.
This instrument is the highest class of flutes from the Nonon workshop, and was built as a presentation piece for Mr. I. L (I think the first letter is an I, not a J). The case is also monogrammed.
After Mr. I. L., the flute was owned by the Rev. T. J. J.  I suspect it was the reverend who played this flute nearly to its grave, because Nina was able to resurrect it.
After Mr. I. L., the flute was owned by the Rev. T. J. J. I suspect it was the reverend who played this flute nearly to its grave, because Nina was able to resurrect it.
The embouchure has been modestly disfigured by age, like many of us.  Nina is a master at bringing back youth, even to the crack repair just visible at the upper right.
The embouchure has been modestly disfigured by age, like many of us. Nina is a master at bringing back youth, even to the crack repair just visible at the upper right.