William Taylor’s address is given as Princes Street, Drury Lane, and he was active in the late eighteenth-century and up until around 1820. His work, as we have got to know it better, follows the various patterns of the London trade around 1800, but the most distinguished examples adopt a good golden-period Stradivari model, of which this is a good specimen. There is considerable speculation that he was a pupil of Vincenzo Panormo. Certainly the use of locating pins on the back – normally ostentatiously darkened for extra effect – places his work close to that of Panormo, although his work rarely comes up to the standard of the best of Panormo’s work or that of Henry Lockey Hill and whilst it is good professional workmanship for the period, the quality of materials and the thin spirit varnish are in keeping with many of the second-tier of makers of the period including the Furber family and the majority of output from the Kennedy workshop. Nevertheless, this is a very charming example of early 19th century English work inspired by Stradivari’s best period.
With Obligato strings, the violin pulls a rich and dark sound with plenty of power. A good strong violin reflective of more prized work by Henry Lockey Hill and the Panormo family but at an accordingly reduced price.