The musical instrument makers of La Couture-Boussey

Learn the story of these families, these men and women who wrote the history of La Couture-Boussey and contributed to its international reputation.

Hotteterre house (beginning 19th century)Le Musée des instruments à vent


Cette famille est l’une des premières lignées de fabricants d’instruments de La Couture-Boussey, le début de leur activité remonte au XVIIe siècle.

Fabricants mais aussi musiciens, on leur doit d’avoir apporté plusieurs grands changements dans la fabrication d'instruments tels que la flûte traversière et le hautbois dans la seconde moitié du XVIIe siècle. D’éminents musiciens sont également issus de cette famille : Jacques Hotteterre dit Le Romain (1674-1762) était joueur de basse de viole, de basson mais surtout flûtiste pour la chambre du roi Louis XIV (1638-1715, dit le Roi-Soleil) et virtuose renommé, pour ne citer que le plus célèbre.

Les Hotteterre cesseront de produire sous leur nom à la fin du XVIIIe siècle mais continueront d’exister au travers de différents mariages avec d’autres familles de fabricants de La Couture-Boussey (Buffet, Chédeville, Chevalier, Hérouard, Lot, Martin, Noblet).

Tenor recorder frontLe Musée des instruments à vent

As an example, here is a 19th century copy of one of the Hotteterre family's preferred instruments: the recorder.

Tenor recorder stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

L'Art de Préluder pour flûte à bec par Jacques-Martin Hotteterre (1673-1763)

Chédeville workshop (1950s)Le Musée des instruments à vent


A family of makers and musicians close to the Hotteterres, to whom they were related through marriage, the Chédevilles were best known for the manufacture and composition of music for the musette de cour, which was an instrument popular among the nobility in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The best known members of this family were Pierre, nicknamed l'Aisné (1694-1725), who played the musette de cour and oboe as a chamber musician and member of the Grande Écurie; Esprit Philippe (1696-1762), who composed numerous pieces in the pastoral style for the musette (for soloists or groups); and Nicolas, nicknamed le Jeune (1705-1782), who played the musette and the flute, as well as composing numerous pieces for the musette de cour and basso continuo.

Clarinet in Bb frontLe Musée des instruments à vent


This family was active in the 18th and 19th centuries, initially in La Couture-Boussey and then in Paris.

Like the Hotteterres and Chédevilles, the family's earlier members were woodturners who became wind instruments makers.

The Godfroy family (sometimes spelled Godefroy or Godefroid) was known primarily as makers of flutes, flageolets, and clarinets. In Paris, their manufacturing activity came to an end with the dissolution of their company, Godfroy fils et Lot (1836-1854).

The Godfroys' workshops in La Couture-Boussey closed following the death of Vincent Hippolyte Godfroy (1806-1868), brother of Frédéric Éléanor Godfroy (1805- c.1844) in 1868, and his wife Marie Alexandrine Godfroy (1814-1888) (née Dumont) in 1888.
That marked the end of the Godfroy lineage.

Clarinet in Bb stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Lot advertisement (1960s-1970s) by René LotLe Musée des instruments à vent


René Lot (1915-2001) was one of the last instrument makers in the La Couture-Boussey area, having been born into a family whose origins can be traced back to the 17th century.

While the family still exists today, their production of musical instruments ended with his
death. Unlike the Hotteterres and the Chédevilles, the Lots were a family of makers only.

One of the best known members was Louis Lot (1807-1896), who trained in La Couture-Boussey alongside his father Thomas (1759-1829) before moving to Paris, where he worked for Clair Godfroy Aîné (1774-1841). He married the latter's daughter, Caroline Joséphine (1811-1884), in 1836, after having established the company Godfroy fils et Lot, together with Clair Godfroy.

After that business closed down, Louis Lot set up a workshop under his own name and, in 1860, became the official supplier of flutes to the Paris Conservatory.

After Louis Lot's retirement in 1875, his workshop continued production until 1950, when the brand was bought out by the Strasser, Marigaux, and Lemaire businesses.

Double recorder frontLe Musée des instruments à vent

A rare Thomas Lot instrument : a double recorder (1734-1750)

Double recorder stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Flageolet frontLe Musée des instruments à vent


Jean-Baptiste Martin (1751/52–?) is considered as the first in this family of woodturners to become a maker of musical instruments.

They are particularly remembered for their marriages to members of the Lots, Thibouvilles, and later the Chanus (a family that continues to this day but no longer works in musical instrument making).

Highly regarded in the 19th century, they were well known as makers of flutes, piccolos, and clarinets. The best known members of this family were Jean-François Martin (1794-1876), who was a “turner, stringed instrument maker, investor, real estate owner, and mayor” of La Couture-Boussey, and the brothers Jean-Baptiste III (1817-1877), Claude Eugène (1819-1874), and Félix (1821-1896), who operated a business named Martin Frères (1840-1927).

Flageolet stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Piccolo (Transverse flute) frontLe Musée des instruments à vent


The Hérouard dynasty settled in La Couture-Boussey in around 1740 and still exists to this day in Ézy-sur-Eure (a village not far from La Couture-Boussey) under the name of Hérouard et Bénard. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Hérouards mostly made flageolets, flutes, and oboes. Their musical instrument making production ceased in the 19th century, when they switched to accessories for clarinets and saxophones (mouthpieces, mouthpiece covers, ligatures, mouthpiece protectors, corks, springs).

The family is linked by marriage to the Hotteterres and the Buffets. The Hérouard name was changed to Hérouard et Bénard in 1946. To this day, the company remains in the hands of the original family.

Piccolo (Transverse flute) stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Hérouard and Bénard establishment, Ézy-sur-Eure.

Mouthpiece cover cap finishing, Hérouard & Bénard workshop (2014)Le Musée des instruments à vent

Thibouville-Lamy workshop (beginning 19th century)Le Musée des instruments à vent


The Thibouville dynasty is distinguished from the other families by the very wide range of instruments it has produced, notably brass and string instruments under Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy (1833-1902). From the 17th to the 19th centuries they made many oboes, clarinets, flutes, flageolets, musettes, cors anglais, bassoons, and other instruments.

Bass saxhorn stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Initially established in La Couture-Boussey, their production activity soon expanded to neighboring villages and Paris. Due to the very large number of makers in this family, as well as their marriages and partnerships with other makers, their history is particularly complicated and a lot of different brands are associated with them. The Thibouville brand itself ceased to exist in 1974 with the closure of the Couesnon business.

Transverse flute stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Flageolet stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Clarinet in C frontLe Musée des instruments à vent


Another big maker dynasty, the Noblets started their musical instruments making activity in the 1750s with Clair Noblet, Senior (1728-1805), who was both a turner and a stringed instrument maker. Through marriage, the Noblets are connected to the Godfroy, Lot, Hérouard, and Lorée families (the latter of which still operates today, under the brand name Lorée-De Gourdon).

In 1855, Guillaume Rustique Noblet (1819-1858) bought out François Lefèvre (1793-?), a renowned specialist in the clarinet, which the Noblets then became known for in turn. Several generations of makers ran the family business, the last being Denis Toussaint Noblet (1850-1919), who died without leaving an heir, instead selling the Noblet business to Georges Leblanc (1872-1959), the father of Léon Leblanc (1900-2000), in 1904.

Clarinet in C stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

André Buffet in his worshop (1960s)Le Musée des instruments à vent


Today, the Buffet-Crampon Group is based in Mantes, to the south of Paris, but the company's roots go back to La Couture-Boussey. It all started with Denis Buffet-Auger (1783-1841), who was born into a family of turners. He learned instrument making with his brother Auguste Buffet Jeune (1789-1864). Like many others, they decided to try their luck in Paris, where they established a workshop. Their clarinets soon earned a good reputation.

The main turning point in their story came with Denis Buffet's son, Jean-Louis Buffet (1813-1865), who married Zoë Crampon (1814-1873) in 1836. Their marriage led to the establishment of Buffet-Crampon, a world leading producer of clarinets that's still in business today.

Clarinette in Bb frontLe Musée des instruments à vent

Clarinette in Bb stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

Extract from a 1904-Julliot catalogue (1904) by Djalma JulliotLe Musée des instruments à vent


Born into a family of musical instrument key makers, Djalma Julliot (1858-1921) was a specialist of the transverse flute who was very well known in the 19th century. When he started working under his own name in 1894, he decided to expand the family tradition of making keys for musical instruments, by starting with instruments production. He chose to produce metal flutes.

Transverse flute in C frontLe Musée des instruments à vent

Inventive and innovative by nature, he filed numerous patents for various production techniques, and the era's top flautists like Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) and Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941) specifically sought out his instruments for their fine balance and meticulous finish.
In 1911, at the age of just 53, he sold his business to Clément Masson (circa 1880-1956), Trotte (?-?), and Eugène Lorée (?-?). The brand ceased operations in 1956.

Transverse flute in C stampLe Musée des instruments à vent

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