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0308 - 8-key conical flute by Rudall, Carte & Co. # 7038

Although by the 1890s the 8-keyed flute had been eclipsed by Boehm's designs, Rudall Carte would still supply such instruments if asked. This instrument, like most non-Boehm instruments by this point, was bought in from an outside contractor, in this case Henry Totman. According to Rudall Carte's records (Stock record II 87) it was completed on 27 August 1890. It is of lovely red-tinged cocus with 'german silver' rings and keys and is stamped [crown]/ RUDALL/ CARTE & Co/ 83 BERNERS STREET/OXFORD STREET/LONDON/7038. The instrument is featured in Bigio p.173, where thanks to my inept transcription it is ascribed the wrong serial number. It plays (in tune) at A440 with c.17mm head extension - with no flat foot, and easily to third octave G. It is in near-perfect original condition with its original, rather battered, case.  The large fingerholes still have sharp edges, suggesting the instrument has been little played, although the C key has been quite deliberately bent to a new position, presumably to suit a particular player. The instrument needed no restoration but has been repadded by Arthur Haswell.


Henry Totman was a full-time flutemaker who appears in the 1881 London Census living at 22 Granby Street, St. Pancras with his wife Elizabeth (née Perkin), their 9 year old son Henry, his brother-in-law and a lodger. As was typical for such properties theirs was just one of three households living at the address. In the census Henry is aged 32, so he was born in c.1849 and would have been an experienced maker by the time he made this instrument. By the 1911 census he is not faring so well, being an inmate of the Paddington Workhouse at the age of 63.

RC 8-keyed flute 7038 Berners Street mod
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