Tortoiseshell veneer, gold piqué, mother of pearl inlay, turned and bored
Length 51 cm
Museum no. 1124-1869
This exquisitely decorated instrument is unsigned but was probably made in about 1740 in Naples, where furniture veneered with inlaid tortoise-shell was a speciality. The treble recorder was played in the key of F, and composers like Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 - 1750) and Antonio Vivaldi (1678 - 1741) wrote music for it. However, by about 1780, the recorder had lost its place in the orchestra to the flute, a louder instrument.
Before the museum acquired this object, it formed part of a decorative trophy of old wind instruments that hung on a wall of the Paris apartment of Gioacchino Rossini (1782 - 1868), the great Italian composer of light opera.