Stamp: L.L./LOUIS LOT/PARIS/3314/BREVET� engraved on head; L.L./LOUIS LOT/PARIS/BREVET�, engraved on body. No mark on foot. Monogram "IP" engraved on headjoint (and gold-stamped on case).
Marks: No marks visible under keys.
Manufacture Date: Made in 1882 during Villette's last year as proprietor.
Hallmarks: No hallmarks on silver parts (lip and crown?).
Comments: This flute came from the estate of a professional French flautist, we are told. It appears not to have been played for quite a few years, so it was not this player's professional instrument. He may have had it repadded when he first acquired the flute, but it looks more like he simply kept it for occasional amusement, until the pads went bad, and he just let it sit. Now the mechanism is sticky as well. We are selling this instrument as-is, but this flute would be a great pleasure to restore. It is in perfect original and unharmed mechanical condition. Even the adjustment screws are clean. As it happens, the headjoint fits into other French flutes here now, and probably made at roughly the same time as this Lot. The Lot's embouchure is so perfect and unworn it speaks with great precision and ease, yet with a surprising richness for such dexterity.
Material: Lipplate of sterling silver. Tubes and keys made of plated nickel silver. Springs of steel, and appear all original. Corkscrew a beautiful, virginal metal screw. Cork faced on both sides with bevel-edged plated metal. Pad washers white metal and all appear original and unscratched, as new. Pads are puffy old style.
System: Full French model Boehm flute, with closed G#, and foot to C. Bb trill. This flute is built in what we have called for years the "Villette" system. Shortly after Louis Lot retired in 1876, Villette redesigned the flute. He split the strap, or rib, at the trill keys, and he changed the clutches to include adjustment screws. Looking at this today, next to a flute by Boehm and Mendler, I see that Villette actually took the German clutch with a two-piece back-clutch and adapted this to Lot's improved "armpit" clutch, now actually a "hanging T", adding Boehm's love of adjusting screws and removing Lotfroy's old F# connection at the back-clutch. Aesthetically, I have never approved of this system, and I was glad to see it dropped from the repertoire shortly after Debonneetbeau took over. However, this flute here is in the most perfect condition I have seen of this model. The set screws are all clean and unused, and the instrument looks and feels wonderful. I have recently heard raves about this model from Eldred Spell and others, so we are delighted this flute has come in. I think the proper term for this mechanism is Villette's Munich Model.
Condition: In near mint condition; a presentation piece that was rarely used. The pads may well be original; certainly everything else is.
Pitch: Seems to be pitched at A=437.
Sounding Length: Sounding length 606mm.
Case: In original case with gold-stamped initials, "IP". The case is worn at the corners