A Fine English Violin after Giuseppe Rocca, circa 1900

George Pyne is an English maker who interests me enormously. The majority of his works are fairly unassuming, and result in his reputation being lumped in with less appealing stereotypes of early 20th century English making, but some of his works stand up to the very best traditions of the period, standing shoulder to shoulder with Wulme Hudson, the Voller brothers and other makers with direct links to the vibrant Wardour Street violin trade. The result is that his work and reputation remain underrated, and best examples can offer really good value for money against instruments of comparable craftsmanship and vintage.

Many of his instruments are made simply and unpretentiously, without any trace of faking or antiquing, and contemporary biographers speak strongly about his morals and how he avoided the more devious aspects of violin making. Yet as I have become familiar with his work, I’ve seen more examples that point towards him being as active as the Voller brothers and George Wulme Hudson in creating fakes and imitations.

This violin is based on the work of Giuseppe Rocca, a maker from Turin whose work was common in London in the late nineteenth century, becoming a target for various fakers including the Voller brothers. Features of George Pyne’s work include a habit of almost always using the same sound hole template and soft, wide edge work of a particular style that is present in this example – suggesting that he was more an imitator than a forger in his approach to older instruments, but otherwise demonstrating such a close relationship to genuine works by the Voller brothers that it would be easy to mistake it as their work.

A super violin in it’s own right with a very clear and strong sound under the ear that carries well. The perfect violin for someone hankering for a Voller (or a Rocca) on a smaller budget.