A Fine English violin by George Wulme Hudson, circa 1930.

Possibly the most famous violin by George Wulme Hudson, this example was exhibited at the exhibition of Four Centuries of Violin Making in the British Isles in 2000, and is published in the British Violin, and in Adam Whone’s book on Edward Withers Limited, 230 years of violin craft in Soho.

Hudson boasted of making ‘speculative’ instruments intended to deceive the trade, and this is one example. The general outline is that of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, giving some credence to an original-fake Andrea Guarneri label, but the arching is fuller than one might expect with soundholes that are too amorphous to place it as the hands of any one particular maker. The combination of a willow back and a deep red varnish give mixed messages from the Testores of Milan to Balastrieri or Camilli Mantua. The instrument is almost a masterpiece of deception, combining a variety of Italian influences to create an instrument that has the attraction of an 18th century Italian violin without exposing itself to direct comparison to any specific body of work. A stunning example of Hudson’s highest order of workmanship. Comparable to some of the best productions of the Voller brothers.

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