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Rafi or Raffin
early 16c–?early 17c
Makers of recorders and transverse flutes active in Lyons in Southern France in the first half of the 16th century.
The earliest to be documented around 1500 is Jacques Pillon Michaud Raffin or Raphin (d. 1524), first heard of in 1506, was listed as
or flautist in 1512 and
faiseur de fleustes
(maker of flutes/recorders) in 1523. He was presumably the maker of the bass flute in Rome marked M. RAFI. He had two sons.
Michaud's son Pierre is documented in 1528-1529. Claude (op. c. 1515–m. 1553) apparently followed his brother in this profession. Claude's fame was celebrated by poets, including Marot, Ronsard and François de la Salle. The latter refers to the good recorder of Raffy in ? 1537.
The court of Mary of Hungary in Brussels ordered certain recorders from a master in Lyons in 1536 which may be the same as the certain large recorders with other instruments mentioned the next year. In 1546, the Accademia Filarmonica in Verona commissioned someone to send to Lyons to buy a consort [or pair] of flutes. Amazingly the Academia still owns a flute made by Claude Rafi, and the body of a bass flute.
A consort of eight large recorders sufficient for a consort, fourteen others large recorders for the consort, and four sets of fifes by the esteemed craftsman … Graffi are listed among the collection of Manfredo Settala, a Milanese physician, clergyman and instrument inventor, in 1664. Graffi is probably a misreading of Cl. Rafi
Maker's mark: (shield with griffin) / C·RAFI; C.·.RAFI; (shield with a ? Brabant lion) / C·RAFI; shield with a ? Brabant Lion; C.·.RAFI / (shield with griffin); G·RAFI / (shield with griffin). The griffin was the emblem of the Archishopric of Lyons.
Bär (1995); Brown & Lasocki (2006: 29); Puglisi (1995), Tiella (2004, 2005).
Recorders by members of the Rafi family
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