Sold on thesaleroom.com: Rare 19th century eight-key flute20 January 2020 Popular in the first decades of the 19th century, the eight-key flute is something of a transitional instrument – one which retained much of the characteristics of the earlier baroque flute but also featured elements of the modern instrument.
Among the best-known makers at the time was Rudell & Rose, a partnership between the London flute player and instructor George Rudall, and Edinburgh wind instrument maker John Mitchell Rose that thrived from 1821-50.
Interest in the eight-key flute as an orchestral instrument waned in the Victorian period in favour of the ‘modern’ flute based on the designs of Theobald Boehm of Bavaria. However, the eight-key flute did remain popular with folk musicians.
Since the revival of Irish music in particular in the 1970s they have been eagerly sought after.
Only occasionally are Rudell & Rose eight-key flutes seen at auction. The example here, in rosewood and white metal with the Rudell & Rose Patentees boss to one end, was offered Burstow & Hewett on January 8 with an estimate of just £30-50.
Plenty of bidding followed before it went to an internet bidder using thesaleroom.com at £1800.