Rudell & Rose flute, sold for £1800 at Burtsow & Hewett.

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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 Rudall & Rose eight-key flutes seen at auction.

The example here, in rosewood and white metal with the Rudall & Rose Patentees boss to one end, was offered by Battle auction house Burstow & Hewett (20% buyer’s premium) on January 8 with an estimate of just £30-50. Plenty of bidding followed before it went to an internet bidder using at £1800.