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Richardcarlin

Signor Alsepti Introduces the Edeophone

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In searching Newspapers.com, I found this notice regarding Signor Alsepti's first playing a Lachenal edeophone.  Alsepti was the author of a well-known tutor for the concertina published by Lachenal, and was said to be the inventor of the so-called "bowing valves" (air release levers) that enabled a concertina player to imitate the bowing of a violinist.  In other newspaper items from the 1880s-'90s, it is noted that "Jimmy Alsepti"--supposedly of Italian birth--was originally performing and teaching in the Exeter area before coming to London in the mid-1890s to teach for Keith, Prowse and Company (who sold concertinas under their own name).  Does anyone else have information on Signor Alsepti?

Alsepti--19 Mar 1896, 5 - Sheffield and Rotherham Independent--Introduces the Edeophone.png

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All I can offer at the moment are his full name, approximate date of birth, his re-marriage and death Richard.

 

James Francis Alsepti was born about 1838, married in the first quarter of 1895 , in the London City District, and died on 8th March 1897, when he was living at St. Johns, Kent.

 

His Executor was R[ichard] Ballinger, his co-patentee (for "bowing valves") and a partner in Lachenal & Co.

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Earlier references seem to be of him as one James Alsept, a "Musician", born Exeter, Devon about 1836, on the 1851 Census, and a "Professor of Music", born about 1837, in 1861.

 

Whilst the earliest Census record, for 1841, reveals the family name was then Alsop, which is something I speculated a long time ago...

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Here's a complete obituary for Alsepti--born James Alsept according to this--with his birth and death dates and marriage info.  It's from his hometown Exeter newspaper.  Had to scan in two parts!

Alsepti--11 Mar 1897, 3 - The Exeter Flying Post or, Trewman's Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser--obituary--pt 1.png

Alsepti--11 Mar 1897, 3 - The Exeter Flying Post or, Trewman's Plymouth and Cornish Advertiser--obituary--pt 2.png

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Wonderful! Finding that obituary in the beginning would have made Alsepti much easier to start researching, especially when he's always been such a shadowy and mysterious figure.

 

He's still not an easy subject, but I feel like we're getting a much better idea of who he really was - rather than the self-created mystique of "Signor" Alsepti "... a blind Italian ... a Franciscan brother in clerical garb, blind eyes hidden by dark spectacles ..."

 

By the way, I wonder if he may have adopted the middle name "Francis" to fit in with his Franciscan persona?

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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I would want to know more about Revrd. Hilier and his ‘playing upon two instruments at once’ ... if that didn’t draw the crowds I don’t know what would! 

Edited by Steve Mansfield
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On 12/12/2019 at 11:05 AM, Richardcarlin said:

Here's a complete obituary for Alsepti--born James Alsept according to this--with his birth and death dates and marriage info.  It's from his hometown Exeter newspaper.  Had to scan in two parts!

 

 

Thanks for this, Richard.  You say, "It's from his hometown Exeter newspaper".  Do you happen to know the name of the newspaper?  Also, the scan of the article doesn't include the date it was published.

 

As for it giving his birth and death dates, all I can find in the article is his year of birth and his age at death.  From that we can calculate the year of his death, although the calculation could be off by one due to rounding.

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On 12/12/2019 at 5:22 AM, Stephen Chambers said:

Earlier references seem to be of him as one James Alsept, a "Musician", born Exeter, Devon about 1836, on the 1851 Census, and a "Professor of Music", born about 1837, in 1861.

 

Whilst the earliest Census record, for 1841, reveals the family name was then Alsop, which is something I speculated a long time ago...

 

 

I thought I rememberd reading on concertina.com that his family name was Alsop.  In the article at http://www.concertina.com/atlas/regondi-golden-exercise/index.htm, Allan Atlas wrote,

 

"The Cheriton Bishop Church of England baptismal register contains an enticing entry: one James “Alsop,” son of Robert and Agnes Alsop, was baptized on 30 October 1806. Could this refer to James “Alsept,” senior, father of the concertinist, with whose age as recorded in the 1851 census—taken on 30 March of that year—the date of baptism squares perfectly?"

A couple of paragraphs later, he discusses someone named "Alsop" might have wanted to be thought to be Italian:

"we might speculate about why the Exeter-born James Alsept erected his Italianate facade in the first place. No doubt, he was trying to cash in on what seems to have been a then-current (at least in some circles)—if rather off-the-mark—association between the English concertina, on the one hand, and Italians, on the other."

 

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On 12/17/2019 at 8:17 AM, Mark Rosenthal said:

 

I thought I rememberd reading on concertina.com that his family name was Alsop.  In the article at http://www.concertina.com/atlas/regondi-golden-exercise/index.htm, Allan Atlas wrote,

 


"The Cheriton Bishop Church of England baptismal register contains an enticing entry: one James “Alsop,” son of Robert and Agnes Alsop, was baptized on 30 October 1806. Could this refer to James “Alsept,” senior, father of the concertinist, with whose age as recorded in the 1851 census—taken on 30 March of that year—the date of baptism squares perfectly?"

A couple of paragraphs later, he discusses someone named "Alsop" might have wanted to be thought to be Italian:


"we might speculate about why the Exeter-born James Alsept erected his Italianate facade in the first place. No doubt, he was trying to cash in on what seems to have been a then-current (at least in some circles)—if rather off-the-mark—association between the English concertina, on the one hand, and Italians, on the other."

 

 

Yes, it was in a message to Allan Atlas (which I still have the draft of) that I suggested "I wonder if, by analogy [with the likes of the renowned Keighley, Yorkshire-born violinist John Tiplady Carrodus, whose name was originally Carruthers]. Alsepti's real name might have been Allsop [the spelling I'd be more used-to]?" Allan, Douglas Rogers, and myself, used to share a lot of our research, and thinking.

 

In the same message I also told Allan about the (Feb. 2 1889) Pall Mall Gazette article that described Alsepti as "... a blind Italian ... a Franciscan brother in clerical garb, blind eyes hidden by dark spectacles ..."

Edited by Stephen Chambers
Edited to add "renowned"

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In the meantime I've found Alsepti on all the censuses in his lifetime, except (so far) that for 1891, and he's James Alsop in 1841, James Alsept in 1851 and 1861, James S. Alsept in 1871, and James Alsepti in 1881, in Exeter, Devon all the time.

 

But I do know that he was living in London in 1891 because he's on the Electoral Register, at 15, Ely Buildings, Holborn, listed as James Alceptic [sic]! It's got to be him because that's the same address he gave when, as James Francis Alsepti, he joined the Freemasons in 1890.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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Thanks Stephen for the additional research....I'm working on updating my files on the Webb brothers as well--I found baptismal dates for Joe and Arthur and Joe's death date but not Arthur's -- I think he passed sometime earlier than his older brother but haven't found the date yet.  Have you?

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On 12/17/2019 at 3:29 PM, Richardcarlin said:

... I'm working on updating my files on the Webb brothers as well--I found baptismal dates for Joe and Arthur and Joe's death date but not Arthur's -- I think he passed sometime earlier than his older brother but haven't found the date yet.  Have you?

 

There's a good match in the fourth quarter of 1930 that may well be him: Arthur Webb, born 1862, age 68, died at Lambeth (a lot of music hall artists lived in Brixton, which is in Lambeth), Volume 1d, page 357.

 

But you'd need to order the Death Certificate to be sure.

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Do you know if Arthur might have married late in life (1926) Richard? To a Lilian Edwards?

 

If so, I've found his entry in the National Probate Calendar:

 

WEBB Arthur of 108 Helix-road Brixton Surrey died 15 December 1930 Probate London 9 January to Lilian Webb widow. Effects £5526 3s 2d.

 

Given that, it'd probably be better to order their Marriage Certificate instead of his Death Certificate, because it will contain more

information - Arthur Webb and Lilian Edwards married in the second quarter of 1926, in Lambeth, Volume 1d, page 631.

.

Edited by Stephen Chambers

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I don't know when he was married.  I'm working on updating/enlarging my article on the Webbs and Fayre Four--have found more info than I had before.  Maybe we should continue through regular email as I'd love to have you review it for mistakes!  Also researching a few others perhaps with the idea of doing something more substantial.  My direct email is carlinrpc@gmail.com -- As a teaser, here's an early Fayre Four photo when they had long hair!  It's signed and dated (on back) 1920.

Fayre Four--early photo--lower res002.jpg

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23 minutes ago, Richardcarlin said:

... As a teaser, here's an early Fayre Four photo when they had long hair!  It's signed and dated (on back) 1920.

 

Fayre Four--early photo--lower res002.jpg

 

It 's probably the earliest-known photo of the four of them, but not quite as early as the one of "The Sisters Webb", Tina and Inga, (with equally-long blonde hair) that I emailed you a copy of in 2003!

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