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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. His treble recorders are similar to those of his contemporary Jean-Jacques Rippert. 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.


As to Bressan's instruments, some three flutes and 48 recorders survive. The recorders consist of one 4th flute (B), 20 altos (F), ten voice flutes (D), 11 tenors (C) and six basses (F). Except for the basses most are scaled in total external length in the ratios B: 3/4; F: 1; D: 6/5; and C: 4/3.


(abridged and adapted from Grove's)

Maker Recorder Model Recorder Size Pitch Material Pieces




List Price


Takeyama Bressan

440 Curly MapleThree Double English Used in As New Condition! Excellent tone and projection! $1550 $1450
Paul Richard Bressan
Paul Richard Bressan Alto Boxwood A415
Alto415European Boxwood Three DoubleEnglish New - Lovely Bressan short-foot model with outstanding tone and response! $1850$1650
Tom Prescott Bressan
Prescott Bressan Alto Boxwood A415

Alto 415 European Boxwood Three Single/DoubleEnglish Used - Very good condition with light signs of wear! $2150 $1650
von HueneBressan

Voice Flute (tenor in D)
415European BoxwoodThreeDoubleEnglish Used - As New condition!Thumbhole shows no wear! Full, rich tone across the entire range! $2800


Martin Wenner Bressan

Alto 415 European Boxwood w/Artificial Ivory Mounts Three DoubleEnglish New - Professional quality instrument. Marvelous sound! Hand-picked at the Boston Early Music Festival! $2250 $2450
Joachim Rohmer Bressan

Tenor 415European BoxwoodThreeDoubleEnglish Used in Mint condition! Powerful tenor at A415! $2700


David Ohanessian Bressan

Alto415/411/392 Stained Maple with imitation ivory rings FiveDouble English Used - in excellent condition and plays well at all three pitches. Great value! NLA$2500
Tim Cranmore Bressan

Alto408 European Boxwood w/Artificial Ivory ThreeSingle Hotteterre Used Aas New - Exquisite copy of original recorder with double holes and original fingering! $2850$2750
Ralf Ehlert Bressan
Oblinger/Ose Keller(X)
Eloy Cortinez/Bach(X)
415Lightly Stained Boxwood ThreeDouble English New - Perfect for Purcell, Handel, Corelli, and Hotteterre! Solid low g and f with no burbles! $2500$2750
von HueneBressan

Voice Flute (tenor in D)
415European BoxwoodThreeDoubleEnglish New - Hand-picked at BEMF 2019! Full, rich tone across the entire range! $2800




A. Baines: 'James Talbot's Manuscript, 1: Wind Instruments', GSJ, i (1948), 9--26

E. Halfpenny: 'The Bass Recorders of Bressan', GSJ, viii (1955), 27--31

E. Halfpenny: 'Biographical Notices of the Early English Woodwind-making School, c.1650--1750', GSJ, xii (1959), 44--52

M.A. Byrne: 'Bressan', GSJ, xxxvi (1983), 2--28; xxxvii (1984), 102--11

W. Waterhouse: 'A Case of Flutes by Mr Bressan', GSJ, xlvi (1993), 162--3

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