This unusual model is a copy of an original in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, made by the French maker Lissieu, active in Lyon during the second half of the seventeenth century. Little is known about his life, but his instruments appear to have been well known for their quality and fine workmanship. One of the references to this maker is found in the Musette method of Piere Borjon de Scellery (Lyon, 1672):
"Le sieur Lissieux, qui depuis quelques anneé s'est étably à Lyon, en construit [des musettes] avec beaucoup de propreté et de justesse, aussi bien que toute sorte d'utres instruments à vent. Je n'en connois point qui approche davantage de l'adresse des sieurs Hotteterre."
("Mr. Lissieux, who has been established in Lyon for a few years, makes them [musettes] with great accuracy and good intonation, as well as all sorts of other wind instruments. I don't know any other maker who approaches him in quality of work, apart for the Hotteterres")
Apart from this flute there are only two other surviving instruments by Lissieu: a small recorder in a private collection in Boston, MA, and a beautifully made musette de cour surviving in the collection of Moreph Chantry Bagpipe Museum in England. The musette can be dated to the 1670's.
This flute is a high pitched instrument, playing at A=460 and is, acoustically speaking, of a renaissance design. With a cylindrical bore and six finger holes, it works well with renaissance fingerings. The wall thickness is slightly larger than an average renaissance flute, which, combined with the higher pitch, give this instrument a sweet, clear sound, reminiscent of a mute cornet.
As for the instrument's repertoire, it is difficult to say what French flutists during this time period would have played on such an instrument. The high pitch, and the type of sound and response are, however, most suitable for playing earlier seventeenth century repertoire, such as Italian Canzonas and early Sonatas, and combines well with other wind instruments at high pitch such as cornets, dulcians and trombones.
This model is available at the original pitch, A=460, as well as with an extra body for A=465.