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…
A 16 5/8 Inch English viola by Alfred Charles Langonet, Rustington circa 1930.
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…
A good Austrian viola from the circle of, and probably by a member of the Keffer family, Salzkammergut circa 1790.
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.
A 16 inch Anglo-French viola by Paul Bailly, London circa 1890
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.
A 16-inch viola, circle of Wilhelm Azan, Aix-en-Provence, 1668
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.
A 17-inch viola by Rüdolf Hös, Munich circa 1685
A stunning interpretation of Stradivari by one of Britain’s most sought-after nineteenth-century copyists.
A very fine viola by Jack Lott, London circa 1840
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.
A fine contemporary viola d'amore by Jonathan Hill