Luthiers de la Dyle

A contemporary violin by Les Luthiers de la Dyle, Stradivari model. £2750

I’m very proud to represent Les Ateliers de la Dyle in London. These handmade instruments are made according to a rigorous process of design, material selection and quality control in Romania and are finished off in Brussels before being set…

 

Luthiers de la Dyle

A contemporary violin by Les Luthiers de la Dyle, del Gesu model. £2750

I’m very proud to represent Les Luthiers de la Dyle in London. These handmade instruments are made according to a rigorous process of design, material selection and quality control in Romania and are finished off in Brussels before being set…

 

George Wulme Hudson

A fine English violin after Carlo Giuseppe Testore, London circa 1940

George Wulme Hudson made instruments to different qualities according to the priorities and circumstances of each opportunity. Over the years I have seen several examples of his most deceptive work, all coming from the United States of America with provenances…

 

Johan Anton Gedler

A fine and unusual baroque violin, Füssen, circa 1750

The Bavarian town of Füssen was a leading centre of instrument making from the mid-1400s onwards, with a guild of instrument makers formed in 1562. It’s importance declined in the early nineteenth century, but when Johan Anton Gedler made this…

 

Alfred Charles Langonet

A 16 5/8 Inch English viola by Alfred Charles Langonet, Rustington circa 1930.

During the 1930s British viola players as a whole became increasingly interested in the sound possibility of larger instruments with George Wulme Hudson, John Wilkinson others producing a number of extremely fine instruments measuring sixteen-and-a-half inches and larger, establishing a…

 

BBC Proms 2017

BBC Proms 2017

  I’m advertising in the BBC Proms programmes this year, so I hope you’ll have a little enjoyment seeing my advert as you listen to the world’s greatest orchestras come to London. And of course, the Proms being what it…

 

Thomas Smith

A good English violin by Thomas Smith circa 1750

St James Square in Piccadilly was home to a vibrant community of violin makers for much of the eighteenth century beginning with John Barrett who first arrived around 1714 at the Harp and Crown. From the 1720s Peter Wamsley was…

 

Richard Brueckner

A good English violin by Richard Brueckner, London 1902.

Richard Bruckner was chiefly a restorer of violins, and consequently his instruments are rare and very little is know of his life. From around 1880 he and his brother Franz established a workshop in Berlin, and by 1900 Richard had…

 

Spur Violins

The Spur Semi-Acoustic Violin

A conversation between a Jazz musician and a luthier sparked the beginning of a quest to produce an ideal violin for on-stage performance more than twenty years ago. The luthier in question was Paul Davies from Australia, the violinist was…

 

Circle of Johannes Keffer

A good Austrian viola from the circle of, and probably by a member of the Keffer family, Salzkammergut circa 1790.

Instruments from the Salzkammergut region of modern-day Austria are of particular interest, especially violas which always seem to be of excellent quality. There were various makers producing regional work in this area with a relatively high proportion of contralto and…

 

Johann Christian Ficker

A good German violin by Johann Christian Ficker, Neukirchen circa 1790.

There are three Johann Christian Fickers working in Neukirchen, and about 20 members of the family who made musical instruments recorded in total as well as other makers in Neukirchen who worked with them, so as with Klotz violins in…

 

Hawkes & Son

A good violin for Hawkes & Son, Piccadilly, circa 1910. £4,500

Hawkes & Sons (Boosey & Hawkes after 1930) were a very successful company selling orchestral sheet music and specialising in military band instruments, established in 1865 and setting up an instrument factory in Edgware, North London. Violins sold by Hawkes…

 

Joseph Panormo

A very fine English violin by Joseph Panormo, London circa 1820

A very fine English violin by Joseph Panormo (circa 1768 – 1837) worked alongside his father for almost all of his career, but his individual style becomes more apparent, as does that of his brother George after the early 1800s.…

 

Nicolas Vuillaume

A French violoncello by Nicolas Vuillaume, Paris 1842 after the 1711 "Duport" Stradivari

Nicolas Vuillaume was the younger brother of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, who worked in the Paris workshop from 1832 to 1842 before returning to Mirecourt in order to oversee production of Vuillaume’s “Stentor” and “St Cécile” models. His Paris instruments are very…

 

Cambridge 2017: Andrea Amati

Cambridge 2017: Andrea Amati

I am delighted to be returning to Cambridge on 11 July to deliver an informal talk on Andrea Amati. Over the last four years, my Cambridge talks seem to have become a regular event in the diary, open to the…

 

Steffen Nowak

A good contemporary violin by Steffen Nowak, Bristol, 2014 after Carlo Bergonzi

Steffen Nowak’s violin is an interpretation of Carlo Bergonzi’s work taking it’s inspiration from work of the late 1730s. Bergonzi’s own work is incredibly experimental and varied within the context of classical Cremonese making of the Golden period. Steffen’s violin…

 

Padraig Barden

A good contemporary violin by Padraig Barden after the 1734 "Lord Wilton"

Padraig Barden is one of several contemporary makers whom I enjoy representing. This particular violin is based on Yehudi Menuhin’s 1734 Guarneri del Gesu, the “Lord Wilton”. Padraig’s personal style tends to leave his instruments slightly lightly built. The effect…

 

Perry & Wilkinson

An Irish violin by Perry & Wilkinson, Dublin 1824.

I have now seen several violins and cellos made for Perry and Wilkinson in Dublin during the 1820s that bear a very strong relationship to Richard Tobin despite the fact that he had left Dublin for London sometime before 1810,…

 

Henry Jay

A fine English Violin by Henry Jay, London circa 1760

Henry Jay worked meters from Thomas Chippendale’s legendary workshop and there may be more than simple coincidence to this. His works are some of the most detailed and fastidious of late eighteenth-century London. This example takes a Stradivari pattern of about 1680 as it’s origin, with the same strong and low Amatise arching and stridently angular soundholes. A powerful violin with enviable colour and versatility.

 

Auguste Delunet

A fine Anglo-French violin by Auguste Delunet, London circa 1890

Auguste Delunet was amongst the legendary French violin makers recruited by W.E. Hill & Sons in 1880 to work under the direction of Charles-François Langonet. Delunet’s violins are rare, but his technique for antiquing can be found on various repairs…

 

Paul Bailly

A 16 inch Anglo-French viola by Paul Bailly, London circa 1890

This viola made in London by a French pupil of Jean Baptiste Vuillaume is a highly refined sixteen-inch interpretation of Brescian work, it has loudness, brightness and enormous versatility. An unexpected instrument for either an English or French pedigree, in many respects the outcome anticipates some of the most exciting Italian making of the early twentieth century.

 

William Taylor

A good English violin by William Taylor, London circa 1800

There is considerable speculation that William Taylor was a pupil of Vincenzo Panormo. His most distinguished specimens, of which this is a good example, adopt a good Golden-period Stradivari pattern. The violin is a very charming violin with a rich, dark sound with plenty of power.

 

Circle of Wilhelm Azan

A 16-inch viola, circle of Wilhelm Azan, Aix-en-Provence, 1668

A very early and rare French seventeenth-century viola approximating the Haute-Contre size found in orchestras of the seventeenth century. The outline, general form and varnish are strikingly simiar to a bass violin by Wilhelm Azan in the Musee de la Musique, Paris, and the partly illegible label gives a clear date for 1668, supported by dendrochronology.

 

Atelier Meteney

Handmade violoncello by the Atelier Meteney, Brussels. £8,000

We have been looking for the ideal professional ‘second’ cello on the market for under £5000 and instruments by Les Ateliers de la Dyle is the best cello we’ve found for the price, making it a fabulous intermediate instrument to take students all the way through grade 8, and into university or amateur orchestras.

 

Gagliano Family

A composite violin, the front by Giuseppe Gagliano and other parts by later family members, Naples c.1770 and later

A very fine sounding composite violin with a clear and direct tone that is very typical for instruments of this calibre, but a real “player’s instrument” affording an excellent opportunity to own an example of classical period Italian making at a fraction of the normal cost.

 

Rüdolf Hös

A 17-inch viola by Rüdolf Hös, Munich circa 1685

Rüdolf Hös was born to an important family of instrument makers in Füssen in 1640, but was sent away to apprentice in Rome sometime around 1663. His application for citizenship of the city of Munich states that he spent 19 years in Italy, working in Bologna and Venice before his return to Germany and his appointment as instrument maker at the Ducal Court in Munich.

 

Hippolyte Caussin

A Fine French Violoncello by Hippolyte Caussin, Neufchatel, circa 1860

The Caussin workshop specialised in producing antiqued instruments for the London and Paris trade, but in the early years their instruments were made to extremely high quality, and the work of the family – Francois-Nicolas and Hippolyte are highly revered,…

 

Lockey Hill

A fine English violoncello by Lockey Hill, London circa 1790

Lockey Hill had a prolific and varied career. This example shows enormous influence from his father, Joseph making it one of the most attractive models to come from his workshop, with especially elegant Amati-styling around the soundholes. An excellent and…

 

George Craske

A fine English violin by George Craske circa 1860

George Craske was a prolific and reclusive violin maker, whose enormous stock of unfinished instruments was eventually purchased by W.E. Hill & Sons after his death. He worked to varying standards with his instruments selling for a broad range of…

 

Benjamin Hebbert Elected Chairman of the BVMA

Benjamin Hebbert Elected Chairman of the BVMA

  I’m delighted and somewhat humbled to have been asked to stand as Chairman of the British Violin Making Association from September 2016. The association has done incredible work bringing together the fellowship of professional and amateur violin makers both…

 

W.E. Hill & Sons 2016 Study Day

W.E. Hill & Sons 2016 Study Day

  I was delighted to be a major sponsor of the British Violin Making Association’s 2016 Study Day celebrating W.E. Hill & Sons and their legacy in September 2016. The study day coincided with the launch of Derek Wilson &…

 

W.E. Hill & Sons Study Day

W.E. Hill & Sons Study Day

We were delighted to be principle sponsors and part of the organisation team for the British Violin Making Association’s Oxford study day celebrating the work and achievements of W.E. Hill & Sons. The study day came about as a response…

 

Kai-Thomas Roth

A fine contemporary violoncello after Matteo Goffriller

Kai’s violoncello has enjoyed a distinguished professional career over the last decade, and was recently replaced by it’s first owner with a Vuillaume: Higher praise is difficult to come by. This copy of a Venetian cello by Matteo Goffriller has…

 

Andrew Sutherland

A fine contemporary violoncello after Domenico Montagnana

Andrew copied a cut-down original by the might Venetian maker, Domenico Montagnana. The narrowed proportions provide an extremely successful model which is reflected in this copy. A great looking and great sounding instrument with great depth and reserves of sound.

 

George Craske

A fine violin by George Craske, Birmingham circa 1840.

One of the finest violins by George Craske that I have seen in a long time, the overall design harks back to the later period of Stradivari’s long-pattern in the second half of the 1690s. However, mannerisms in the soundholes,…

 

James Dodd

A bow that underlines the continual experimentation of the Dodd family through the nineteenth-century. The swept back head of the stick is very characteristic of both James Dodd moving towards the standards to which Panormo bows were made. The narrow…

 

George Craske

A fine violin by George Craske, Snow's Hill, circa 1835 after Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu

After Craske’s legendary meeting with Paganini in 1832, he moved towards making Guarneri inspired violins, of which this is an early example. The instrument is made to his standard enlarged form, with characteristic flat arching and stylised del Gesu soundholes. The violin is unusual for having a scroll made by Craske, who later abandoned head carving in favour of buying in ready-made parts. A very fine and characteristic example with a strong and powerful tone.

 

George Craske

A fine violin by George Craske, Bath, circa 1820 after Stradivari

This is a rare example of George Craske’s work, from his early period in Bath, made around 1820 or slightly before. The model is very close to the Stradivari violin of his patron Sir Patrick Blake (bequeathed to him in 1815 by J.P. Salomon, and sold following Blake’s death in 1819). The narrow pattern is Stradiari’s shorter long pattern, exemplified by violins such as the ‘Baron Knoop’ of 1698.

 

Jonathan Hill

A fine contemporary viola d'amore by Jonathan Hill

This viola d’amore is copied from a very fine example in the Victoria and Albert Museum, made by Jean Nicolas Lambert (and sold by his widow in 1772), one of the most outstanding Parisian makers of his day. Jonathan’s instrument is typical of the very high standards of workmanship and acute observational skills that I have come to expect in his work. Quite simply, it is the finest viola d’amore by a contemporary maker that I have seen in many years.

 

London’s Newest Violin Shop

London’s Newest Violin  Shop

Newsletter No1 October 2014
Our first newsletter, featuring instruments by Andreas Hellinge, Neil Ertz, Ludwig Neuner, Charles Jacquot, Daniel Parker, Riccardo Genovese & Bela Szepessy

 

Ludwig Neuner

A fine German violoncello by Ludwig Neuner, Berlin, 1875

Ludwig Neuner’s apprenticeship took him to the workshops of Engleder in Munich, Nemessanyi in Budapest and finally Gabriel Lembock in Vienna. He then spent several years in Paris working with Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume before establishing his business in Berlin. This exceptional violoncello exhibits an extraordinarily close relationship to the standards of Vuillaume’s own production. Modelled after a Stradivari cello of about 1710, it is one of the finest nineteenth-century German cellos I have either seen or heard.

 

London’s Oldest Violin Shop

London’s Oldest Violin Shop

In the first of a series of blogs about London violin makers and their trade, Benjamin Hebbert explores a unique architectural survival from the 1680s, purpose built for a family of violin and instrument dealers, and shines a light on…

 

Bela Szepessy

A fine Anglo-Hungarian violin by Szepessy Bela, London 1889

Bela Szepessy came to London in 1881 becoming one of the most influential London makers of his time. His apprenticeship had taken him through the great workshops of central Europe – Engleder in Munich, Nemessanyi in Budapest and Zach in Vienna. His most celebrated violins are finely observed interpretations of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu, of which this is an example, and retains many of the characteristics of the finest central European craftsmanship. A very fine and clear sounding violin in excellent condition.

 

Andreas Hellinge

A fine contemporary violin by Andreas Hellinge, Geneva, 1998.

In 1998 Yehudi Menuhin consigned the fabled 1742 “Lord Wilton” del Gesu for sale with Hug & Co in Zurich. Whilst it was for sale, the company invited the Swiss maker Andreas Hellinge to produce two ‘bench copies’ of the violin. This is one of those copes and was intended for presentation to Menuhin as a memento of the sale. However, Menuhin died before the violin was finished so that paradoxically as a precise copy of the “Lord Wilton”, it is arguably amongst the most important contemporary violins commissioned for Menuhin, but also one that he neither saw nor knew of. The violin has superb playing qualities, and is both musically and technically one of the best modern del Gesu copies I have come across.

 

Neil Ertz

A fine contemporary violin by Neil Ertz, after Peter Guarneri of Mantua, Cambridge 2008.

Amongst connoisseurs of Cremonese violins, Peter Guarneri ‘of Mantua’ is spoken about as the one violin maker who excelled above Stradivari. The only problem is that he was called to the ducal court at Mantua for his skills as a musician in 1685, and was able to make few violins after that point. I’ve had the pleasure of handling several original instruments by this maker, and Neil’s copy, based on a violin of 1704 proves to be a masterly interpretation of the key points of Guarneri’s style. The violin has had a distinguished playing history since it was made and has come to us as the last owner was looking to upgrade. My experience of instruments of this bolder pattern is that they tend to give a slightly more mature sound than a straightforward flat-arched Stradivari or del Gesu copy.

 

George Wulme Hudson

A fine English violin by George Wulme Hudson, Chessington, circa 1900 ascribed to Giovanni Baptista Pallencia.

George Wulme Hudson used the pseudonym Giovanni Baptista Pallencia for violins made as an amalgam of different styles. In this example, the fictional Pallencia is stated to be a pupil of Gagliano working in Milan. The violin takes it’s inspiration from Nicolo Gagliano’s work, especially in respect of the soundholes and overall boldness of the arching, but he appears to have opted for a Guadagnini (though probably of the Turin period, not from Milan) to inspire the edgework, choice of wood and overall form. The result is a violin that sits between different schools, and to an extent is the ‘perfect fake’ because it is plausibly Italian without requiring too much comparison with any particular maker. However, it is signed inside, and discretely on the label. An exceptional English violin with a powerful projecting sound.

 

Buying & Commission Sales

I am constantly searching for fine instruments and bows to add to our stock. I maintain strict standards for authenticity and condition of the instruments that I deal in, and high regard for their tonal potential. However, many instruments come…

 

TB14001

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CB14002

A fine French silver mounted violoncello bow by Eugene Sartory, stamped “E SARTORY A PARIS”, Paris, circa 1920. A good and strong example from arguably this maker’s best period. Round stick with silver lapping and ivory tip. Some minor playing…

 

Claude Thomassin

A fine silver mounted violin bow by Claude Thomassin, stamped “BELA SZEPESY” for the London trade. Along with many of the London shops, Bela Szepesy is documented to have bought bows from Paris which he stamped with his own brand.…

 

Tourte and Vienna

Tourte and Vienna

Why did Beethoven  ignore the technological progress of the French..   We were delighted to be invited to speak at the symposium “Le Violon c’est l’archet” – bows from the time of Beethoven and Paganini held at the Kunsthistoriches Museum…

 

James d’aquisto

James d’aquisto

Guitar Heroes and the holy grail of the American Mandolin..   James D’Aquisto was one of the iconic makers of the American archtop guitar. In 1971 he created his own design of mandolin applying the proven aesthetics of the New…