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Treble recorder

Treble recorder

  • Place of origin:

    Milan (made)

  • Date:

    1740 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Anciuti, Giovanni Maria (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory with ink inscription

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at the Horniman Museum, London , case B

The treble recorder produces a softer version of the sound of the flute and it perfomed much the same function in a small ensemble that the flute would in a full-scale orchestra. By about 1800 the recorder was largely replaced by the flute and it was not until the 1880s that it was resurrected with the revival of early music by Arnold Dolmetsch (1858 - 1940). Giovanni Maria Anciuti of Milan was one of the greatest recorder makers of his day, and his surviving instruments are dated between 1717 and 1740.

On loan to the Horniman Museum.

Physical description

'Engraved and backened inscription on head joint: Anciuti/ A.Milan/ 1740 , under a wyvern. Ivory, in three joints octagonally shaped, with carved foliage in low relief and rings of pellets. The base of the head joint has been slightly shortened.' (Baines, Anthony. Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-Keyboard Instrments. London: V&A Publications, 1998, p. 86.)

Place of Origin

Milan (made)


1740 (made)


Anciuti, Giovanni Maria (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory with ink inscription

Marks and inscriptions

'Ancivti [sic]?/ A. Milan/ 1740.'
Anciuti at Milan, 1740.


Length: 47.5 cm

Object history note

This object was acquired by the Museum in 1861 for £1 - 4 - 2, from Monsieur Bauer, 93 Rue d'Antin, Paris. The Art Referees Report by Matthew Digby Wyatt (RF 18485/69) was enthusiastic and included a sketch of the instrument.

Descriptive line

Treble recorder, made by Giovanni Maria Anciuti, Milan, 1740

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

Baines, Anthony. Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria and Albert Museum - Part II: Non-Keyboard Instrments. London: V&A Publications, 1998, p. 86.
Peter Thornton, Capolavori lignei in formato ridotto, in Arte Illustrata, Anno V, n.47, gennaio 1972, (pp. 9-12, pp.50-7, pp.108-110, trans. by Elena Lante-Rospigliosi.
Translated from the Italian - "The museum also owns two ivory wind instruments which are beautiful examples of carving, particularly interesting in that they belonged to Rossini. The maker of both was J. M. Anciuti of Milan, one is a recorder and bears the date 1740, the other is an oboe with very gracious young dancers depicted at the lower end (fig. 10)."
Picture Library B & W Negs:
HE2427 - HE2479; FE1863; 31768.

Labels and date

By Johannes Maria Anciuti, Milan, 1740
Three joints, engraved Anciuti/ A. Milan/ 1740

Non-Keyboard Catalogue No.: 20/5

This recorder is the last dated recorder made by Johannes Maria Anciuti, whose extant examples were made between 1717 and 1740.

7469-1861 [pre September 2000]


Ivory; Ink


Boring; Carving; Turning


Musical instruments

Production Type



Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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