George Rudall (1781 1871)




Born at Crediton, Devonshire in 1781 Rudall was the son of Samuel Rudall, a solicitor of that town. He showed an interest in the flute from early childhood when he taught himself to play tunes on reed flutes which he had made himself.


He was apprenticed by his father to a serge-maker but he soon relinquished it and shortly after received a commission in the South Devonshire Militia. He continued to practice the flute without instruction and whilst quartered with his regiment in Liverpool he received a few lessons from Nicholson (jnr.). Apart from that he was a self-taught flautist.


In 1820 or thereabouts, he left his regiment and went to live in London where he built up a reputation as a teacher of the flute. As was customary he supplied his pupils with flutes stamped with his name. These instruments were made for him by Willis, a reputable maker who lived in Clements Inn and they were the first instruments to bear the name Rudall.


For many years Rudall played on an 8-key boxwood flute with what were then considered large holes. At the age of 62 he successfully adopted the Boehm system with open G# but it was always a source of regret to his friends that Rudall could never be persuaded to play in public. He even declined an invitation to play before King George III but he was apparently very popular in drawing rooms.


Rockstro remembered his playing as possessing a sweet, clear tone, though not very powerful. His expression was enchanting and execution perfect, reflecting his polished manners and genial disposition.




From Lorenzo, My Complete Story of the Flute, New York, 1951.




Return to Flute History Main Page