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Flute by Pierre Naust, Paris, 1690

NNM 10113.  Flute by Pierre Naust, Paris, ca. 1690

NMM 10113.  Flute by Pierre Naust, Paris, ca. 1690. Three sections. Stamped on all sections: NAUST / [lion rampant]. Boxwood, large turned ivory mounts. One closed, silver key. Total length, 666 mm. Sounding length, 583 mm. Ex coll.: Friedrich von Huene, Brookline, Massachusetts. Purchase funds gift of John R. and Janice Waltner, Freeman, South Dakota, in honor of their daughters, Mary Law and Ann O'Donnell, 2002.

What little is known about Pierre Naust (ca. 1660-1709), recognized today as one of the great woodwind makers of the Baroque period, is summarized in Tula Giannini's pioneering book, Great Flute Makers of France: The Lot & Godfroy Families, 1650-1900 (London: Tony Bingham, 1993). Naust, whose workshop was on the rue de L'Arbre Sec, St. Germain l'Auxerrois in Paris, was one of a number of leading 17th-century woodwind makers, including Hotteterre, Lesieux, Lot, and others, who hailed from La Couture—the region, west of Paris, bordering the royal residences of Anet and Versailles—where running water and good wood, essential for making woodwinds, were readily available.

The Museum's three-piece flute by Naust—the oldest flute in the NMM's collections—and the other known example, preserved at the Musikinstrumentenmuseum in Berlin, represent the early Hotteterre design. The other complete, three-piece Naust flute known to survive, now at the Musée de la Musique in Paris, has a cylindrical foot joint, more typical of three-piece flutes of the middle period (ca. 1700-1719), according to Giannini. Another example, at the Museum of Musical Instruments in St. Petersburg, Russia, does not have its original foot joint.

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