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Bass recorder

Bass recorder

  • Place of origin:

    London (Made)

  • Date:

    about 1700 (Made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bressan, Pierre Jaillard (Made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Turned and drilled and stained fruitwood joints, turned ivory mounts, and brass crook and key

  • Museum number:

    293-1882

  • Gallery location:

    On display at the Horniman Museum, London , case B

By about 1700 bass recorders were played in consort with tenor and treble recorders, and used by composers such as Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) to imitate birds singing, in addition to operatic love scenes and funerals. Pierre Jaillard Bressan (1663-1731), the maker of this instrument, moved from France to London in 1688. He made wood-wind instruments of the finest quality, and also ran a successful music publishing business.

On loan to the Horniman Museum.

Physical description

'Stained fruitwood, in three joints, ivory mounted. The foot joint has a bulbous termination with a vent hole in the side and an ivory-lined lower socket into which a woden peg, now missing, may be inserted for resting the instrument on the floor while playing. A square brass key with a plain touch is mounted on the foot joint. This and the brass crook appear to be replacements of missing originals' - Anthony Baines:Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments(London, 1998), p. 85.

Place of Origin

London (Made)

Date

about 1700 (Made)

Artist/maker

Bressan, Pierre Jaillard (Made)

Materials and Techniques

Turned and drilled and stained fruitwood joints, turned ivory mounts, and brass crook and key

Marks and inscriptions

P.I./ Bressan
Stamped on all three joints of the recorder

Dimensions

Length: 108 cm total length without crook, Length: 90 cm sounding length to upper edge of bell vent, Diameter: 3.8 cm bore of head at voicing, Diameter: 3.5 cm bore above main joint, Diameter: 2.9 cm bore below main joint, Diameter: 2.7 cm bore of peg socket

Object history note

This instrument was bought for £3 by the Museum in 1882. It had been part of the collections of Carl Engel (1818-1882), an eminent musicologist from Hanover, who published the Descriptive Catalogue of the Musical Instruments in the South Kensington Museum in 1874. The South Kensington Museum was renamed the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899.

Descriptive line

Stained fruitwood, by P.J.Bressan, English, about 1700.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Anthony Baines: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-keyboard instruments. (London, 1998), p. 85

The instrument, one of three known bass recorders by Bressan, is described in the Galpen Society Journal, VIII, 1955, by E. Halfpenny, who has also published a biographical notice on the maker in G.S.J., XII, 1959.

Materials

Fruitwood; Ivory; Brass

Techniques

Drilling; Turning

Categories

Musical instruments

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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