1102 - 6-key conical flute by John Parker
Parker's flutes are typical of London instruments of the later eighteenth century. This example is particularly well-preserved, and probably dates from the period during which his workshop was situated at 52, Long Lane, Southwark (c.1770-1804). He is recorded at this address in Wakefield (1794, p.234) and by Doane (1794) who also notes that he was a working musician, performing on oboe and bassoon, and a bass singer. This is confirmed by Simon McVeigh's useful (2014) Calendar of London Concerts 1750-1800, where Parker appears as an alto singer in a benefit concert at the Hanover Square Rooms on 12 May 1788 (Concert #3158). Parker was still at Long Lane on 15 July 1799 when he placed an advertisement in the Oracle and Daily Observer.
WANTED an APPRENTICE to a FLUTE MAKER.
His friends to find him in Clothes, Washing, &c. a
Premium will be expected. Apply to JOHN PARKER,
No. 52, Long-lane, Southwark. N.B. Two Journeymen
wanted as above.
The timing of this fits perfectly with the impending departure of his then current apprentice/journeyman, Thomas Rayment, who had been indentured to Parker as an apprentice on 20 Dec 1792 for a period of seven years. This is recorded on 16 Jan 1793 in the Apprenticeship Books at the National Archive, Kew (IR1/35, f182). In 1804 Parker moved his workshop to 3 Angel Court, just off the Strand, where he remained until his death in late 1813/early 1814. At this point the Angel Court workshop was taken over by John Willis (q.v.). Thomas Rayment was certainly connected to John Willis in some way, as he is a witness to the making of Willis's will, although it's unclear whether Rayment worked for Willis, or whether they were perhaps journeymen together under Parker. Parker's instruments were stamped simply PARKER/LONDON. Other wind instruments bearing the name Parker, often with the words 'improved' or 'maker' and bearing a crown or fleur-de-lys do not originate from his workshop, and are later in style and date.