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Bassano, Venice, London
Anglo-Venetian family of outstanding musicians, composers and instrument makers whose products were distributed throughout Europe.
Jacomo (died 1559/66) was active as woodwind player to the Doge of Venice, and as a woodwind maker. With his son-in-law Gritti, he made consorts of flutes, recorders, shawms, cornetts and crumhorns.
Five Bassano brothers, migrated from Venice to England in the 1530s where they provided a recorder consort at the royal court for 90 years, and spread their fame as instrument makers throughout Europe: Jeronimo I (d ca 1545), Alvise (d 1554), Anthony I (d 1574), Jacomo (d ca 1558), John (d 1570).
The family owned a workshop near to the centre of London around 1544-1552, and is probable that they also acted as purveyors to the court of Henry VIII, of which a long list of instruments exist dated 1547.
An inventory made in Augsburg in 1566 reports gross Fuetter darina 27 flötten, gross und klain, so in Engellandt gemacht werden. It is likely that the 45 instruments recorded in an inventory from 1571 at the Muenchener Court (shawm, crumhorn, cornett, recorder) were also made by the Bassano brothers: so zu London gemacht seind worden, von der Bassani bruedern.
Arthur (1547-1624), seems to be the person meant in a contemporary English document which notes: Mr. Barsano, one of his Majesty's musicians who makes fine instruments. His son Anthony II (1579-1658) is also recorded as a maker of musical instruments.
Makers marks: The assignment of the various silkworm marks to specific members or generations of this family is still a matter of speculation.
It is possible that the maker's mark 'B' depicted by Ganassi (
Opera intitulata Fontegara
, 1535) refers to instruments by members of the Bassano family.
Brown & Lasocki (2006) suggest that the maker of recorders stamped HIE·S and HIER·S may have been Jeronimo Bassano, rather than the Hieronimo de li flauti from the latter part of the century. Brown (pers. comm., 2007) reports that the HIER·S· basset in Sibiu was made using the same reamer as the HIERS· and HIE·S bassets in Vienna (SAM 160 & 161), and that the Sibiu bass also looks pretty similar to one of the HIES basses in Vienna.
Recorders by members of the Bassano family
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