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John Keiling (active 1720), Known as 'Blind Jack'; played the flegeolet with his nose

Sitter in 1 portrait
After losing his sight John Keiling, known as Blind Jack, ensured his livelihood by learning to play the flageolet. He conceived the notion that by playing on the instrument in a novel way to that generally practised, he should render himself more noticed by the public, and be able to levy larger contributions on their pockets. The manner of Blind Jack's playing the flageolet was by obtruding the mouth-piece of the instrument up one of his nostrils, through practice he could produce as much wind as most others with their lips into the pipe but the continued contortion and gesticulation of his muscles and countenance rendered him an object of derision and disgust, as much as that of charity and commiseration.

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D27672

John Keiling

by Robert Grave, after Unknown artist
line engraving, published 1819
NPG D27672

Category

Music