Four keyed flute made by John Preston

Made by Preston, John in England, 1776-1834.

This instrument is important in showing the early development of multiple keys on the flute during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It illustrates the progression from the single key (D#) instrument to instruments with four keys (F, G#, Bb, and D#). Additional keys were added by makers as a response to the music written at the time and the desire of performers to have more accurately pitched and brighter notes that did not rely solely on forked fingerings. Such fingerings could make notes...


Flute, four keyed, box wood / ivory / metal, made by John Preston, London, England, 1776-1834

Four keyed boxwood flute, in four pieces with five ivory bands. The head joint (-1), is a long single piece with an ivory cap, oval mouth hole, and a slight swelling in the body near the bottom which is boarded by an ivory band. The middle joint (-2), has three uncovered finger holes and two square lever action silver keys, both ends are step cut and bound with red waxed thread. The second middle joint (-3), is shorter and narrower, with three uncovered finger holes and a horizontally placed levered, silver key, the top of this section has an ivory band which is followed by a swelling in the wood, the bottom is step cut and bound with white waxed thread. The foot joint (-4) is finished top and bottom by ivory bands and has a bulbous knop at the top where a single square silver key is attached.


Preston was known to have made or sold a variety of musical instruments and also published music.
Preston, John 1776-1834


This flute was donated to the Museum as part of a collection of flutes owned by Mr Leslie Barklamb, with the assistance of Linda Vogt.
Barklamb, Leslie


This instrument is part of an acquisition donated by Leslie Barklamb, Judith Turnley and Gwen Colyer, 1993
26 March, 1993

Cite this Object

Four keyed flute made by John Preston 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 22 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Four keyed flute made by John Preston |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=22 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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