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Musical Instruments

Signal horn in C

Key data

Henry Distin, London, 1860

Coiled twice anti clockwise

silver, engraved

overall length 112.5 cm, diameter of mouthpiece 1.25 cm, bell 9.8 cm

Inv. 1980.2519.


Henry Distin was born in London in 1819. With his father and his three brothers he played in the 'Distin Family Quintet' brass ensemble. In 1849 he took over the family firm. In 1882 he moved to Philadelphia where he founded another firm in 1886. He died in Philadelphia in 1903. The signature is engraved on the bell: Hy. DISTIN . MAKER. LONDON. The instrument, made of costly material in comparison to other horns, and preciously fashioned, has engraved foliage and flowers and a dedicatory text on the bell. The inscription indicates that it was a gift of the ladies of Wells to a voluntary company of riflemen formed in 1860, when an invasion by Napoleon III was threatened: "Presented / to the / 10th SOMERSET. / RIFLE VOLUNTEER COMPANY / by the Ladies of / Wells and its Vicinity / Oct. 19th. / 1860".

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Basel Historical Museum
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