Serpent, wood covered with black leather. Three brass keys, mounted in saddles. Brass ferrule with five deeply turned bands at crook socket. No mount at bell. Body broken at left finger holes and bound together. Mouthpiece made of horn is roughly contemporary. Right-angled brass crook. Stamped: BAUDOUIN; twice inside the bell.
The serpent was invented in France around 1590 to play with church choirs. It accompanied Gregorian chant and later hymns. It appeared in English churches around 1670 and was a member of military bands. Only occasionally was it included in the orchestra. On the serpent, the tone and volume of different notes is not consistent. The pitch of each note can vary dramatically. Serpent players need an excellent ear, so that they may correct the tuning with the lips.