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Richard Potter

London, England

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

Marks: The mark "IX" (OR "XI") is scratched under the footjoint touches, and onto the wood under the D# key.

Manufacture Date: This is Potter's famous and groundbreaking 6 keyed flute, with his 1785 patented pewter plug pad system. This instrument is a conservative one, since the buyer choose not to have the new metal-lined head. As well, the low C shank vaults over the C#, which Potter changed in the 1790's. Thus this flute was made within the 10 years from 1785-1795.


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.


Weight: 299g.

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

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