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Flute by Thomas Cahusac, Sr., ca. 1785-1795
NMM 4837. Flute by Thomas Cahusac, Sr., London, ca. 1785-1795. Conical. Four sections. Stamped on all pieces: CAHUSAC / LONDON. Ivory, silver mounts and later cap. Four closed, silver keys: B-flat, G-sharp, short F, D-sharp, all stamped: IH (John Hale). Total length, 613.1 mm (minus cap). Sounding length, 535.6 mm. Ex colls.: Philip A. T. Bate, London; Dale Higbee, Salisbury, North Carolina. Higbee-Abbott-Zylstra Collection, 1989.
Thomas Cahusac, Sr. (1714-1798) may have apprenticed with flute-maker J. J. Schuchart, alongside Benjamin Hallet, one of whose flutes is also preserved in the Museum (NMM 1291). Having become well-acquainted during their apprenticeships, the two young woodwind makers later shared a common London address between 1736 and 1748.
According to a trade card printed about 1780, Cahusac advertised himself as a "Flute and Musical Instrument Maker . . . who has the Honour to work for the Royal Family, and the best Masters; makes and Sells all Sorts of Musical Instruments, viz. German Flutes, in Ivory, Ebony, Cocoa, or Box Wood, tipt [sic] with Gold, Silver, Ivory, or Plain, in the neatest Manner; Voxhumains, Clarinets; Fifes for the Army; Pipes and Tabors; Bird-Flutes and Flagelets [sic]; Bagpipes; French Horns; Trumpets . . . Mouth-pieces for French Horns . . . Bassoon and Hautboy Reeds; Reed Cases."
When he turned 80, Cahusac brought in two of his sons as partners and expanded the business, now Cahusac & Sons, to include the sale of stringed instruments and music. An obituary in the Gentlemen's Magazine referred to him as "the oldest musical instrument maker in London" and noted that the 84-year-old craftsman had been married four times and fathered 30 children during his lifetime.
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