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.

 

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.

 

Steffen Nowak

A good contemporary viola by Steffen Nowak, Bristol, 2014. After Gaspar da Salo.

I’ve known Steffen since my first days in the violin trade, and have admired the respect that he has earned for his instruments. Steffen’s work is certainly amongst the cleanest that I have seen, and his aim is always to make instruments to look as they would have appeared when they were first made. His attention to craftsmanship, and especially his passion for sound produce some very enjoyable instruments to play. This viola is based on an original, made by Gaspar da Salo around 1580-1600. As his instruments age naturally over time, I think they will come to be considered amongst the classics of contemporary British making.