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834

Clair Godfroy, ainé

Paris, France

Stamp: On headjoint and body joint (footjoint unstamped): (head of Minerva?) / (in oval cartouche) CLAIR/ (script) Godfroy ainé/ A PARIS/ (monogram below cartouche) CG/ BREVETÉ

Comments: Early Godfroy cylinder flutes are the fruit of the partnership between Louis Lot and H. V. Godfroy, built between the patent of 1847 and the split of 1855. This instrument appears to have been built during this period. Our guess is that it falls between flute #113 and flute #572, both of which have passed through here. Godfroy #357 also appears to be later than this instrument, based on changes to the keywork. Thus we date this among the earliest of existing cylinder flutes, around 1853. To add to the great good fortune of this instrument's recent discovery (in southern France), the flute was built to play between the old French pitch of A=448 and the later "New Pitch" of A=435. Thus this instrument plays at A=440 with the headjoint pulled out just a few millimeters. It was probably pitched to play at around A=444.

Material: This gorgeous flute is made of beautifully figured wood, probably "Portuguese ebony" as mentioned in Louis Lot's record book for high quality flutes. The keywork and trim is of silver. The springs are blue steel. The pad washers are gilt. The corkscrew is, of course, a turned wooden system. The original wooden case is absolutely beautiful, and, like the flute, in perfect, as new condition.

System: This is the model 1 on the Godfroy price list, a wooden cylindrical flute with foot to C and silver keys. The G# is of the Dorus type. The trill key is to the thumb, giving what the French called a "C" trill. Extras include the fine wood and the expensive case.

Condition: This flute is among the best preserved of the 15 or so known Godfroy wooden cylinder flutes. The wood is perfect, the keywork is perfect, the pad washers are all perfect, even the case is in perfect condition. In fact, the fact that the case is so carefully preserved shows why the flute itself is in such good condition. The instrument has seen some use, but not substantial use. The gold in the name stamps, for example, is still clearly visible but nonetheless partly gone from wiping the instrument down. The embouchure is perfect. This instrument has been recently overhauled in France, for professional use at A=442.

Pitch: Pitched c. A=444-A=440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length 595 mm.

Measurements: Scale length 223 mm. Embouchure 10 x 11.9 mm.

Weight: 356 g.

Case: In original, very beautiful wooden case, with the original French polish.

Sorry, sold. 10/15/07

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

Portions of the original gold fill are still seen in the Godfroy stamp on this rare and very beautiful flute.
Portions of the original gold fill are still seen in the Godfroy stamp on this rare and very beautiful flute.
The absolute genius of Godfroy and Lot are seen in the right hand mechanism, here on one of the earliest cylinder flutes.  The difficult task of controlling the Bb key with the right hand was solved via the shoulder clutches seen here.
The absolute genius of Godfroy and Lot are seen in the right hand mechanism, here on one of the earliest cylinder flutes. The difficult task of controlling the Bb key with the right hand was solved via the shoulder clutches seen here.
This close up shows the beautiful pillar used as a spring holder and support, and the distinctive design of the rim at the open holes.  Godfroy flutes by the 500 series had a much more curved top to the keys.
This close up shows the beautiful pillar used as a spring holder and support, and the distinctive design of the rim at the open holes. Godfroy flutes by the 500 series had a much more curved top to the keys.
The glorious Dorus G#, with the early key design of Godfroy and Lot, here seen in perfect original condition.
The glorious Dorus G#, with the early key design of Godfroy and Lot, here seen in perfect original condition.
The lovely and perfect wooden case was a special order, and has been preserved without a blemish.
The lovely and perfect wooden case was a special order, and has been preserved without a blemish.
Very few flutes exist with a Briccialdi Bb earlier than this one.  The teardrop touch is just a tad thinner than later Godfroy touches.
Very few flutes exist with a Briccialdi Bb earlier than this one. The teardrop touch is just a tad thinner than later Godfroy touches.
The back clutch is of the wide hip variety, as seen on Louis Lot's early flutes, and Godfroy before #356.  Godfroy's continued output favored the more streamlined
The back clutch is of the wide hip variety, as seen on Louis Lot's early flutes, and Godfroy before #356. Godfroy's continued output favored the more streamlined "narrow hip" clutches.
It seems remarkable that the design of the modern flute was complete so very early by Godfroy and Lot.  There is very little different from the keywork on this flute and an instrument of today.
It seems remarkable that the design of the modern flute was complete so very early by Godfroy and Lot. There is very little different from the keywork on this flute and an instrument of today.
The rear of the footjoint shows us the clutch at the C#.  This early design uses a much wider tube for C#, making the clutch plate very long.  The edges are fairly square.  Godfroy and Lot changed this design to a rounded and shorter clutch plate, although precisely when is difficult to determine.
The rear of the footjoint shows us the clutch at the C#. This early design uses a much wider tube for C#, making the clutch plate very long. The edges are fairly square. Godfroy and Lot changed this design to a rounded and shorter clutch plate, although precisely when is difficult to determine.