878

Claude Laurent

Paris, France

Stamp: On longer headjoint: (script) Laurent/ � Paris, / 1809. On shorter head: (script) Laurent / � Paris, 1809.

Marks: No marks visible under keys.

Manufacture Date: Made in 1809, per date on flute and overlapping hallmarks. The keywork and head corks support this date, although the "zigzag" G# is generally associated with flutes from c.1815. It is possible either that we are wrong about the zigzag G#, or that this key was replaced after the fall of the Emperor.

Hallmarks: Long headjoint hallmarked with the fasces having the ax head at the top, in use to August 31, 1809. Second head unmarked. Both upper body joints hallmarked on Bb key with ax head in middle, used after September 1, 1809. Heartpiece socket with ax head at top. G# key (mounted on heartpiece socket) with ax head in middle. Short F with ax head in middle. Footjoint socket with ax head in middle. It appears that this flute was made body-first, and the keys added after the hallmark had changed. Thus the flute would have been delivered late in 1809 or shortly thereafter.

Comments: This Laurent flute is a lovely player, with a fine, rich, and strong tone. The low pitch head is very slightly broader in the bore diameter, and shorter of chimney height, thus having a thinner glass tube than the shorter joint, which has a slightly narrower bore, greater chimney height, and greater overall diameter and weight. Our inventory of known Laurent flutes has been updated. We now have news of 124 instruments. Of these, 53 are in museums or other public collections, 44 are owned privately, and 27 are in currently unknown locations. Although there are 17 known Laurent flutes with extra midjoints (six from 1809 alone), this flute is the only one with two headjoints. Unless there is another five keyed Laurent with two heads and two midjoints from 1809, then this flute was reported to Dayton C. Miller by a French priest, and later Miller noted it was seen at a New York antique store. The instrument dropped from sight until recently, when it was purchased by our source at a garage sale in New Hampshire. This is our eleventh Laurent flute to pass through here (one was for repairs only). It is always a special pleasure to have a Laurent in the house, and we are especially pleased to have such a fine one to offer at this time.

Material: Made of crystal glass, with silver keys and trim. Springs of steel. Corkscrews of ivory, with wooden, silver covered crowns. Cork is of cork. Tenons wrapped in thread. The flute came with pads of uncovered felt, which do not appear to be original.

System: This is a five-keyed flute, with foot to D. The G# key is mounted on the socket of the heartpiece. The D# key is swiveled, with a round pad "cup" (there is no cup to these pads, which are flat silver). There are two headjoints, of different sounding lengths and slightly different diameters and wall thickness. The flute also has two midjoints. The available pitches with this configuration range from A=415 to A=440.

Condition: The condition of this flute is very nearly perfect. Even perfection is flawed, and in this case there is a previously repaired (long ago) break in the glass under the longer midjoint tenon. Furthermore, the crown on the longer headjoint was absent the silver covering, which we have had a jeweler replace. The little bayonet safety fasteners on both headjoints are absent. The glass is otherwise flawless, without the scaling often seen, and with no chips.

Pitch: Pitches are available from A=415 to A=440.

Sounding Length: Sounding length of: Headjoint 1 body 1:554 mm; weight 512 g; pitch c.A=417 (A=415 with headjoint out a few millimeters). Headjoint 1, body 2:543 mm; weight 507 g. pitch c. A=425. H2 B1=548 mm; w=520; p=c.420. H2 B2=538 mm; w=516; p=c. 430. Headjoint 1: 159 mm; w=168 g. Headjoint 2: 153 mm; w=172 g. Midjoint 1: 182 mm.; w=164 g. Midjoint 2: 171 mm; w=156 g. Heart and foot: 233 mm; w=186 g . Thus we have flutes at the following lengths: Headjoint 1: 574 and 563 mm . Headjoint 2: 568 and 557 mm

Measurements:

Weight:

Case: In the original case, fitted precisely for these two heads and midjoints. The case is covered in green leather (now faded), with the inside hinge edge still in the original colors. The case fittings are brass, including the handle and two locks. On the top of the case is an old paper stamp with the number 69 and the sign of an X with two lines through. On the rear of the case is written in ink a word with "300f", as though it was sold at a shop in Paris at one time.

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