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Recorder by Paul Bressan Circa 1700
Peter Bressan (1663 - 1731) was one of the most important baroque recorder makers.
He was born in France and baptized Pierre Jaillard. In 1678 he was apprenticed to a wood turner in Bourg for two years;
he then left Bourg, but it is not known where he learnt instrument making, although this was most probably in Paris.
He came to England in 1688, and is first mentioned as Brazong or Bresong in English archives in 1691 as one of the 'hautboys' who accompanied William III to Holland.
The James Talbot Manuscript (GB-Och Music 1187, c1695; see Baines) shows that he was already a leading London maker of flutes, recorders and oboes. In the 16th and 17th centuries Bressan's residence had been the town house of the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, although by Bressan's day it had been divided up; this explains the use of the red rose of Lancaster in his mark (P I/Bressan/cinquefoil rose).
Bressan was a friend of James Paisible, who in 1721 appointed him an executor of his estate in England (the other was Peter La Tour, later Bressan's principal creditor). Bressan published violin sonatas by Castrucci (1718) and violin or flute sonatas by Barsanti (1724).
He subscribed to J.C. Gillier's Receuil d'airs francois (1723) and to J.E. Galliard's Hymn of Adam and Eve(1728).
His house contained a room large enough for exhibitions. In 1725 John Byrom, author of the epigram on Handel and Bononcini, bought a flute from Bressan, which cost five guineas.
The London newspapers of about 6 May 1731 report his death in Tournai, describing him as 'that celebrated artist in making flutes'.
An inventory of his house shows that he made all the contemporary wind instruments, and indicates his interest in the fine arts, itemizing some 76 pictures, prints, portraits and busts.