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The Bassanos

Members of the numerous Bassano family of Venice were engaged as English court musicians and instrument-makers by Henry VIII, who was fond of music and dancing. Both branches of the family built all kinds of woodwind instruments, including several sets of flutes that have survived to the present day. These flutes, believed to have been made in the late 16th century and early 17th, are perhaps the finest of their period.

The Bassanos lived at a time in which the flute was the most popular instrument for amateur musicians to play together for recreation, and between 1530 and 1547 Henry VIII established his own royal consort of transverse flutists who doubled on cornetts--these musicians almost certainly played Bassano instruments. After Henry's death the consort continued with 6 players until 1630.

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