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854

Clair Godfroy, ainé

Paris, France

Stamp: On all joints, engraved: CLAIR / GODFROY, AINÉ / (script) Breveté (note: no accent on headjoint)/ (Gothic) Paris. Additionally on headjoint: 1013

Comments: This very lovely flute seems to have an emerging hint of Bonneville about it. There is the absolute purity of Lot and Godfroy, with Godfroy's usual slight stuffiness replaced by Bonneville's emerging vision of texture and volume. We date this flute from 1866 or so, just before the great Exhibition of 1867 in Paris. Dorus was still professor of the silver flute at the Conservatoire, and the new flute was well celebrated in Paris. The great genius Vincent Hypolite Godfroy was 59, and two years from his early passing. This instrument not only brings the sound of the very emergence of the silver flute, but, amazingly, it is a sound still entirely valid today. Rich in texture, full in volume, and pure as snow; this is a flute as beautiful, and as useful, as any made today.

Material: This flute is the model 6, silver flute with B foot. The cork screw is of wood. The pad washers have been modernized. The springs have all been replaced with gold.

System: This flute is the classic Lot/ Godfroy model, with B foot, independent G#, trill to the thumb C. The B foot is right hand pinkie operated, with all the touches on the footjoint. The body scale measures out at 220 mm, which is the classic old pitch French scale, aiming for an A at 446 or so. Nonetheless the flute plays at an unquestionable A=440, for the most part. A strobe tuner is not the correct way to approach these flutes in general.

Condition: Much of this flute is in original condition, yet it has lived through a difficult relationship with a poor restorationist many years ago. The lipplate and embouchure are perfect. The crown is sublime. The flute is in excellent and fully playable condition. A closer look reveals that the tone hole rims are actually not quite perfectly aligned with the holes in the flute body! This is a repairable condition, the result of a resoldering of the tone holes, yet in fact the instrument plays beautifully, with this secret well hidden away. The open hole keys have been closed and opened again, I suspect. The current chimneys are new, and come down from new plates on the keys, where a covering would have been. There is a successful repair on the lower body tenon. The headjoint is original, almost. The ring appears to have been moved down a bit, setting the headjoint at A=440, with a silver sleeve set in the barrel to compensate. This works, although there is definitely more affect on the high C# than the low B. A relationship with this beautiful flute is likely to be a tiny bit complicated; for me, these relationships have always been the most satisfying!

Pitch: Pitched at A=440, thanks to the lowered headjoint ring. Originally scaled at A=446, I suspect, it would be perfect for European higher pitch playing.

Sounding Length: 635 mm

Measurements: Emb 11.89 x 10.3 mm. Chimney height 4.95 /4.91. Tube c. .011". Body scale 220 mm.

Weight: 416

Case: Currently in an old case, in fairly rough shape.

Sorry, sold.

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Photographs (click to enlarge):

We describe this stamp as Godfroy mark 3, used c. 1859-c.1868.  Flute #1013 would have been made in 1866 by our reckoning.  This is just before the exhibition of 1867, and two years before the death of Vincent Hypolite Godfroy, age 61, in 1868.
We describe this stamp as Godfroy mark 3, used c. 1859-c.1868. Flute #1013 would have been made in 1866 by our reckoning. This is just before the exhibition of 1867, and two years before the death of Vincent Hypolite Godfroy, age 61, in 1868.
Godfroy was the maker for the aristocracy and nobility of France.  His flutes are clearly the most beautifully made, surpassing even Louis Lot in the finesse and artistry of design and execution.
Godfroy was the maker for the aristocracy and nobility of France. His flutes are clearly the most beautifully made, surpassing even Louis Lot in the finesse and artistry of design and execution.
The right-hand mechanism shows us the shoulder clutches and the split strap for the B trill touch (at the right).  It appears as though the tone holes were covered at one point, and this was converted back to an open hole mechanism.
The right-hand mechanism shows us the shoulder clutches and the split strap for the B trill touch (at the right). It appears as though the tone holes were covered at one point, and this was converted back to an open hole mechanism.
The side G# was a child  of the '50s, and often was adopted.  Here the key appears mature and original, yet the dark spot on the rib just above the upper G# post is a groove often seen on early G# keys, as though they had to adjust the position of this post!  Also shown is the stunningly lovely G# touch, showing the artistic bent of the Godfroy shop.
The side G# was a child of the '50s, and often was adopted. Here the key appears mature and original, yet the dark spot on the rib just above the upper G# post is a groove often seen on early G# keys, as though they had to adjust the position of this post! Also shown is the stunningly lovely G# touch, showing the artistic bent of the Godfroy shop.
Godfroy's B foot touches seem simple, yet it was Godfroy and Lot who first designed this lovely footjoint.
Godfroy's B foot touches seem simple, yet it was Godfroy and Lot who first designed this lovely footjoint.
The beautiful posts and one-piece rib, along with the elegant arm for the C#, continue to display Godfroy's eye for artistic taste.
The beautiful posts and one-piece rib, along with the elegant arm for the C#, continue to display Godfroy's eye for artistic taste.
The lipplate is in unaltered condition, and the embouchure measures 11.89 x 10.3 mm.
The lipplate is in unaltered condition, and the embouchure measures 11.89 x 10.3 mm.
Inside the embouchure we see the graceful curves of Godfroy.
Inside the embouchure we see the graceful curves of Godfroy.
Godfroy's extraordinary craftsmanship and design are seen in his exquisite crown and beautiful footjoint.
Godfroy's extraordinary craftsmanship and design are seen in his exquisite crown and beautiful footjoint.