Anna Ashmole writes about understanding violin customers around the world

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Click here to read the article in the Guardian Weekly.


Recent acquisitions: C A Maucotel violin, B Ouchard violin bow, two lovely small violas, plus more…

11 Nov 2016

Charles Adolphe Maucotel Violin, Paris circa 1850 Price band: £££

Bernard Ouchard Violin Bow, Geneva circa 1960 Price band: £££

HR Pfretzschner Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1920 Price band: •££

Mirecourt Violin, Charles Brugère Workshop, 1907 Price band: •££

Bohemian Small Viola, circa 1900 Price band: •££

Mittenwald Small Viola, circa 1850 Price band: •££

Emile Auguste Ouchard Viola Bow, New York circa 1950 Price band: £££

Charles Adolphe Maucotel Violin, Paris circa 1850


Facebook feedback about a violin given as a birthday present

11 Nov 2016
It’s lovely to get hear from customers who have bought instruments from us in the past. If you bought a violin from us some time ago do let us know how you are getting on with it. We just got this facebook post from Zia Roberts, whose musical life has clearly been flourishing since she was given a violin as a birthday present three years ago.

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Can you give us some feedback on our service?

29 Oct 2016

If you’ve ever bought a violin, viola, cello or bow from us we’d love to hear from you! This survey has only five questions – so it needn’t take long. And if you’d like a free violin blanket as a thankyou for your feedback just let us know at the end.

Click here to go to the survey.


Recent acquisitions: four violins of mixed heritage

8 Oct 2016

Violins made by an Italian working in Scotland, a Scotsman and a Hungarian living in London and the founder of a Portuguese dynasty of violin makers working in the Italian style.

Andrea Pontedoro Violin, Edinburgh 2007 Price band: •££

Alexander Hume, London 1925 Price band: •££

Bela Szepessy Violin, London 1914 Price band: •££

Domingos F Capela Violin, Espinho (Portugal) 1967 Price band: •££

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Recent acquisitions – two Hill violin bows

6 Oct 2016

WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow, London circa 1970 Price band: £££

WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow, London circa 1950 Price band: •££


Our violins visiting the Savoy Hotel, London

28 Sept 2016
We dropped of some off our violins with a customer who was staying at the Savoy Hotel in London last week. It looks like they made themselves comfortable! The violins were all put through their paces in a private concert and the Joseph Calot was the clear winner. It’s now sold (though, contrary to rumour, not to George Clooney, who had already ‘left the building’).

Martin Swan Violins at the Savoy Hotel, London


MSV 131 Stradivarius Pattern Violin, Martin Swan Violins 2016 (Artist Violin)

SOLD More details


Carl Gottlob Schuster Violin, Markneukirchen circa 1930

SOLD More details


MSV Hardanger Fiddle (standard model)

£2,500

Hardanger fiddle/ Hardanger violin Our Hardanger fiddle is a simplified version of a traditional Hardanger, made with a violin scroll and without ornamentation. The body is copied directly from an award-winning instrument by Sveinung Gyovland. This historic instrument had excellent tone and sustain, so we followed the outline, arching and thicknesses faithfully. The result is an affordable Hardanger with a completely authentic sound.

Our Hardanger has 4 sympathetic strings, tune-able with ease thanks to the incorporation of Wittner geared pegs. Principal strings are traditional gut (normally tuned CGCE).
We generally have one of these instruments in stock – we’re also happy to make them to order with 5 sympathetic strings, dragon’s head scrolls, and/or traditional inlaid tailpieces and fingerboards. More details


New Viola Bows by A. Reis

One in stock at present

£850

New Viola Bows by A. Reis
These new viola bows are made from excellent Brazilian pernambuco, assembled and finished by Alecio Luiz Dos Reis, a young Brazilian maker living in the UK. They represent exceptional value for money. More details


Marco Raposo Cello Bow, Brazil 2009

£650

A Cello Bow by Marco Raposo, Brazil 2009
Marco Raposo cello bows are made with sustainably sourced or reclaimed pernambuco. This bow has a round stick of light orange wood with a broad irregular figure and is silver mounted with a solid silver adjuster. The bow has had very little use and is in perfect condition – a great bow at a bargain price.
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MSV55 Stradivarius Pattern Viola 40.5cm, Martin Swan Violins

£1,850

Martin Swan Violins MSV55 ViolaThis is a Stradivarius pattern viola with a plain maple back made with locally sourced Scottish sycamore. A very responsive instrument with a beautifully mellow and well-balanced tone. More details


Dyre Vaa Hardanger, Ytre Vinje 1989

SOLD More details


MSV Guadagnini Simpson Model Cellos

Call for information

More details


Albin Hums Cello Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1930

£1,750

Albin Hums Cello Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1930This is a fine silver-mounted cello bow by Albin Hums – quite a superior model and in near mint condition. The stick is of round section orange pernambuco of medium stiffness. More details


A Scottish Viola by Alex Youngson, Glasgow 1974

£4,000

A Scottish Viola by Alex Youngson, Glasgow 1974Alex Youngson was a great maker from Clydebank, initially self-taught, but who then studied at Newark under Maurice Bouette. As far as I know he only made violas and viola d’amores (there’s one in the Kelvingrove Museum). This is a very nicely made large-pattern instrument, a far cry from his pre-Newark ‘Clyde built’ instruments. The condition is perfect. More details


MSV Stradivarius Pattern Cello

Recently sold, £4,750

Our standard cello is a Stradivarius pattern instrument of manageable proportions … length of back 75.5cm, stop length 281/402mm, and a rib height of 120mm. We use only exceptional timber for these cellos, and the plates are thicknessed for optimal resonance and tonal colour.
More details


Mittenwald Small Viola, circa 1840

£4,500

A Small Mittenwald Viola circa 1840 This is a very characteristic Mittenwald small viola with a one-piece front taken from one of those immense Alpine spruce trees. It’s in near-perfect condition with no cracks or damages, and very little wear to the edges or the varnish. The work is very tidy and precise, everything is well-executed and oozes confidence – it’s a pleasure to see something of this quality in such a pristine state. More details


Bohemian Small Viola, circa 1900

£5,000

Czech viola probably by a member of the Prokop familyProbably by a member of the Prokop family, this is a late 19th century Czech viola made on a Maggini model. It’s in great condition apart form a few dents and scuffs to the varnish. A very handy size, it has a dark and fruity sound, slightly melancholic, very musical. More details


Mittenwald Small Viola, circa 1850

£6,000

Mittenwald Viola, circa 1850An unusually attractive Mittenwald viola in near perfect condition. One piece front and back, no cracks or damages, the original varnish very well preserved though with heavy craquelure to the scroll. The tone is big, bright and smooth with great response – recently set up to a high standard by Stringers of London. More details


Claude Thomassin Cello Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920 (Gustave Bernardel Stamp)

£16,000

Claude Thomassin Cello Bow,  Mirecourt circa 1920Claude Thomassin has only recently been recognized as one of the best French makers of the early 20th century. He worked for Gand & Bernardel before setting up on his own, first in Paris then from 1904 in Mirecourt. He was a highly respected and very successful maker who supplied bows to numerous shops and instrument-makers in France and in the UK. J&A Beare in London bought bows from Thomassin, as did Withers and many others. His bows are very distinctive, mainly on account of the heavily swept back Tubbs-like ferrule– the work is of high quality and the bows generally play very well. More details


Bohemian Small Viola, circa 1830

£6,000

Bohemian Small Viola circa 1830This is a very attractive early 19th century viola bearing an apocryphal Gagliano label. In style of construction it comes closest to Prague instruments of the period, but it seems destined to remain forever “anonymous”. The size is typical of Austro-Hungarian work – overall the workmanship is excellent, as are the materials and the varnish. There are a couple of invisible and highly professional crack repairs to the table, including a soundpost patch. More details


Alfred Joseph Lamy Cello Bow, Paris circa 1890

Price on application

Alfred Joseph Lamy Cello Bow, Paris circa 1890Alfred Joseph Lamy stands slightly in the shadow of his teacher and mentor FN Voirin, but I prefer his work. It’s not quite as clinical, and yet it retains the elegance and finesse which characterize these particular makers. Lamy’s cello bows are particularly fine, with the most beautiful elongated head shape. This is a lovely example in fantastic condition – deep red round section pernambuco stick, silver and ebony mounts with a plain eye and 3-part adjuster. More details


Mittenwald Small Viola, circa 1870

£7,000

Mittenwald small viola, circa 1870This is a very well made Mittenwald small viola from the mid-late 19th century – typically the front, back and ribs are all one-piece in construction. The tidy inner work reveals the use of an inside mould, and in all respects this is a finely executed instrument with dramatic varnish, elegant Guarneri-inspired f-holes, and discreet antiquing. More details


Alfred Knoll Viola Bow, circa 1970

£2,500

Alfred Knoll Viola Bow, circa 1970This is an excellent gold-mounted bow by Alfred Knoll – according to Hartmut Knoll it dates from the late 1960s or early 1970s, although it looks brand new. It’s a very attractive bow of octagonal section red pernambuco, and it plays like a dream, not too stiff, not too slappy – silky would be the best word to describe the action and the sound. I would recommend it for an aspiring soloist – it’s clean, lively and very responsive. And it’s in perfect condition. More details


Roger François Lotte Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1970

£3,000

Roger François Lotte Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1970This is a lovely bow by Roger Lotte carrying his own later brand. It’s a classic example of his work with a rounded heel, Parisian eye, and a Simon-like backwards curve to the head. The fine red pernambuco is also typical – round in section, with mounts of silver and ebony. The condition is excellent.
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Michael Taylor Viola Bow, 1989

£5,000

Michael Taylor Viola BowI’m a big fan of Michael Taylor’s bows – I always like them, and this one is very typical. It bears the serial number 1704 under the frog, and according to Michael this dates it to around 1989. Under the leather it will be stamped Michael J Taylor on the player’s side and Ealing Strings on the audience side. It’s a very attractive bow, with fine red pernambuco in round section and gold and ebony mounts. The condition is near perfect, with one very careful owner who bought it new from Ealing Strings. More details


Morizot Frères Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1940

£5,500

Morizot Frères Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1940
The Morizot workshop in Mirecourt was formed in 1937 by the sons of Louis Morizot. It was a busy place full of talented and competitive people, and the quantity and quality of bows produced is staggering. This particular bow is a very fine example in perfect condition, made for Collin-Mézin, and with an ornamental “R” engraved on the ferrule. The stick is of octagonal section red-brown pernambuco of high quality, mounts are silver and ebony. More details


Albert Nürnberger Viola Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1920

£6,500

Albert Nürnberger Viola Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1920This is a very fine Nürnberger family viola bow, probably an early work by Carl Albert Nürnberger. The brand with a * at each end came into use after 1910, yet some archaic aspects of this bow’s construction suggest that it can’t be much later than that. The bow has a silver face and a pinned underslide, and it oozes style. The stick is of beautifully flecked round section pernambuco – mounts are silver and ebony.
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Claude Thomassin Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1915 (John & Arthur Beare Stamp)

£13,500

Claude Thomassin Viola Bow, Mirecourt circa 1915Claude Thomassin worked for Gand & Bernardel before setting up on his own , first in Paris then from 1904 in Mirecourt. He was a highly respected and very successful maker who supplied bows to numerous shops and instrument-makers. J&A Beare in London bought bows from Thomassin, as did Withers and many others. His bows are very distinctive, mainly on account of the heavily swept back ferrule and rounded frog – the work is of high quality and the bows generally play very well. More details


Emile Auguste Ouchard Viola Bow, New York circa 1950

£16,500

Emile Auguste Ouchard Viola BowEmile Auguste Ouchard is one of the most highly valued bow makers of the 20th century. His style is individual and very precise, and the playing qualities of his bows are rarely surpassed. Many professionals use an EA Ouchard. This fine viola bow from his New York period is a very good example, powerful yet responsive and with a huge sound. More details


François Nicolas Voirin Viola Bow, Paris circa 1880

£28,500

François Nicolas Voirin Viola Bow, Paris circa 1880FN Voirin is one of the greatest names in bow-making. Although his bows haven’t become a currency in the way that Sartory bows have, he is generally regarded as the better maker. While his bows are inevitably lighter, they have unparalleled elegance and are renowned for their quality of sound.

This viola bow is a lovely example of his work, typically refined and perfectly proportioned. The stick is of octagonal section orange-brown pernambuco with speckled figure, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition is astounding.
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Eugène Sartory Viola Bow, Paris circa 1935

£35,000

Eugène Sartory Viola Bow, Paris circa 1935This is a superb Sartory viola bow in near pristine condition, stamped E SARTORY A PARIS, and certified by Pierre Guillaume. Sartory bows represent a kind of gold standard for professional players – utterly reliable, with the brilliance of the greatest of French makers, but with a weight and balance that works for modern technique.

The stick is of round section red brown pernambuco with silver and ebony mounts. The condition is superb – there are no issues to report aside from a minor repaired pin crack to the stick at the adjuster. More details


Paolo Castello Small Viola, Genoa circa 1770

Price on application

A Small Viola by Paolo Castello, Genoa circa 1770This is an outstanding 18th century Italian viola by Paolo Castello. Castello attracts quite a varied response from connoisseurs and antiquarians, mainly on account of his idiosyncratic scrolls, but I’m a big fan. Every instrument of his that I’ve played has sounded good, and most are outstanding. This viola is a fine example of his work, very similar to the one featured in Alberto Giordano’s seminal article in the Strad. More details


A Markneukirchen Violin circa 1890

£1,500

Markneukirchen Violin circa 1890This is a rather attractive unlabelled Markneukirchen/Schönbach violin from the late 1800s. It’s well proportioned and nicely finished, showing some attention to detail. It’s in excellent condition overall with no significant damage, and only a few chips to the varnish. More details


MSV 102 Violin, Martin Swan Violins 2014

£1,700 (Standard Violin)

Cremonese pattern violinThis is one of a number of prototypes we made from Cremonese patterns when looking for a successful model with a short back length. This particular violin is 35.2cm but with a conventional stop length, and is designed with the smaller player in mind. Like all of our MSV violins, it’s made entirely with hand tools in Reghin, Transylvania, and is finished with an Italian Balsamic varnish. More details


Three-quarter Mirecourt Violin c1930

£450

Three-quarter Mirecourt Violin circa 1930This is a great-sounding three-quarter violin made in Mirecourt, France around 1930. I don’t immediately recognize the workshop, but the construction is 100% French. Very neatly made with good wood, although unlabelled this violin is rather better than average. There are two restored cracks to the table above and below the right f-hole, and a couple of dunts here and there as you would expect from a well-used child’s violin – otherwise the condition is very good. The sound is big, broad and rewarding. More details


MSV 108 Stradivarius Pattern Violin with Antique Finish, Martin Swan Violins 2014

£1,900

MSV 108 Stradivarius Pattern Violin with Antique Finish This is a good Stradivarius pattern violin made entirely with hand tools by one of our Hungarian makers in Reghin. The varnish is an “antiqued” finish which we have developed in collaboration with a specialist restorer in Budapest – we continue to refine this process and welcome any feedback. The sound is charming and refined, not the loudest violin we’ve produced but smooth and silky in character, unusually responsive, even with a light technique. More details


Half Size Violin, Médio Fino, JTL Mirecourt circa 1910

£600

Half-Size Violin, Médio Fino, JTL Mirecourt circa 1910This is a rather cute half size violin from the JTL (Jérome Thibouville-Lamy) workshops in Mirecourt. The Médio Fino was and still is a very popular student model, basic in construction but always reliable in tone. More details


MSV135 Stradivarius Pattern Violin, Martin Swan Violins 2016

SOLD More details


MSV 81 Ornati Pattern Violin, Martin Swan Violins 2013

SOLD More details


Half-Size Violin, JTL “Célèbre Vosgien” circa 1920

£650

An old French half-size size violin Another lovely JTL half-size size violin from the Mirecourt firm of Jerome Thibouville-Lamy, and bearing their “Célèbre Vosgien” label. It’s in perfect condition – normally half-size instruments bear a lot of scars, but this one has been carefully looked after, and even the original varnish is looking good after nearly a century. A nice sounding instrument too, warm and rounded throughout the register. More details


MSV 136 Stradivarius Pattern Violin, Martin Swan Violins 2016

SOLD More details


MSV 137 Stradivarius Pattern Violin Martin Swan Violins 2016

£2,700 (Artist Violin)

hand made Stradivarius violinThis is a Stradivarius pattern violin made entirely with hand tools by one of our Hungarian makers in Reghin, and varnished in our shop in Budapest. It has a two-piece back of closely flamed maple and a rich gold/brown Italian balsamic varnish. The sound of this instrument is sweet and clean, articulate yet friendly. As with all our Artist violins, it has great balance and quick response, and is a delight to play. More details


Violin by Amédée Dieudonné, Mirecourt 1948

£3,500

Violin by Amédée Dieudonné, Mirecourt 1948This is a very nice Amédée Dieudonné violin dating from 1948, numbered 388B, branded to the inner back. Dieudonné ran a small and very successful workshop in Mirecourt, producing various models of violin for the French market and more notably for Rudolf Wurlitzer in the USA. More details


Alois Bittner violin, Prague 1930

£3,750

Alois Bittner violin, Prague 1930Alois Bittner is another superb but undervalued 20th century Czech maker – he spent most of his working life in Kladne, just outside Prague. Like Dvorak, Spidlen, Drozen and Herclik, his violins were heavily faked during his own lifetime by Markneukirchen makers, so Bittner resorted to extensive branding. This violin is branded twice on the outside and has multiple brands on the inside, but the work is patently first-class, with a superb lightly craquelled red oil varnish over a golden ground, perfect details and fine arching. More details


Mirecourt Violin, Charles Brugère Workshop, 1907

£5,000

Charles Brugère Workshop violinAn excellent Mirecourt violin with a fine tone, rather better than your average Collin-Mézin! Lovely size and in near perfect condition. More details


An English Violin of the Withers School, circa 1900

£5,000

Withers School violinThis is a fine English violin from the turn of the century – although it’s not up to the standard of an Edward Withers, it shows many similar points of style, and was probably made in the Withers shop. The wood is of excellent quality and the work is very precise. The condition is unusually good – there are no cracks or repairs of any kind. More details


Andrea Pontedoro Violin, Edinburgh 2007

£6,000

Andrea Pontedoro ViolinThis is a very attractive modern Italian violin by Andrea Pontedoro, made during his period of residence in Edinburgh. Andrea is a fine maker who draws influence from the De Bonis family of his native Calabria. You can read more about him here. The model is individual, the wood is superb, the varnish rich and subtly shaded. More details


A Fine Mirecourt Violin circa 1890

£6,000

Fine Mirecourt ViolinThis is a lovely Mirecourt violin of some quality, broadly equivalent to a late 19th century Collin-Mézin. It has well conceived arching, finely worked edges and corners, and delicately fluted f-holes. It’s in excellent condition – just two repaired wing cracks to report, otherwise no cracks or repairs. The varnish is oil, very well preserved, with an attractive hint of craquelure. More details


Testore Labelled Violin, early 19th century

£6,000

Testore Labelled Violin,  early 19th centuryThis lovely little violin has flummoxed everyone who has seen it. It has resisted dendrochronology, and it has no clear geographical identifying features. All that can be said for certain is that it has strong Italian features, though the scroll is reminiscent of the English fakers such as John Wilkinson. My own guess is that it’s a Central Italian violin from the early 19th century with a later scroll More details


Johann Schult Violin, Lübeck 1939

£6,500

Johann Schult Violin, Lübeck 1939 for sale This is an excellent violin by Johann Schult, one of the best early 20th century German makers – he was appointed court violin maker to the Duke of Mecklenburg in 1907. The wood is superb, the varnish is rich and lustrous, and the work is artistic and highly skilled. The sound is top class, bright, sugary and strong with great sustain. It has a clear and unique cantabile voice – an unusually smooth and responsive violin suitable for a professional player. More details


Andrew Smillie Violin, Glasgow 1947

On trial, £7,000

Andrew Smillie ViolinThis is a fine Scottish violin by Andrew Smillie, one of the most respected of Scottish makers. According to David Rattray, “with his passing in 1948, shortly followed by that of Harry Briggs, Professional violin making in Scotland more or less came to an end”. The Smillies (father Alex and son Andrew) are surely the best known makers of the Glasgow school, and their violins are consistently good tonally, even when the work is not as artistic as that of Briggs. More details


Abele Naldi Violin, Milan 1968

£7,000

Abele Naldi Violin, Milan 1968This is a lovely violin by 20th century Milanese maker Abele Naldi. It’s unmistakably Italian in conception, just on the artistic side of brash, very individual in model and execution. The spruce used for the front is exceptional – very regular closely spaced grain, probably the same wood that Naldi used for guitars – and the back and ribs are made from wood with a spectacular quilted figure, possibly pearwood. More details


A Good Mittenwald Violin circa 1780

£7,500

good mittenwald violinThis is a very tidy late 18th century violin, probably Mittenwald by a follower of Bartholomaus Karner, showing all the typical features of South German construction. It has very rounded “Dutch Barn” shoulders, a one-piece bottom rib with inset saddle, inside mould construction with classic Mittenwald inner blocks, and a lovely soft red varnish. More details


Domingos F Capela Violin, Espinho (Portugal) 1967

£8,000

Domingos F Capela violinDomingos F Capela was the first member of the Capela dynasty which dominated Portuguese making in the 20th century. He worked very much in the Italian style, with crisp execution and without antiquing, and his violins and those of his sons have always been very popular. This particular violin is quite late, and is modeled on the Paganini “Cannone” by del Gesu. It bears its original certificate from the maker. More details


Jerome Thibouville-Lamy Violin, Mirecourt 1905

£9,000

Jerome Thibouville-Lamy Violin, Mirecourt 1905Jerome Thibouville-Lamy, or JTL, is one of the best-known names in the violin trade. The JTL mega-workshops in the Vosges produced hundreds of thousands of violins from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century. Mostly these were student violins which have remained popular on account of their excellent sound. But they also produced beautiful handmade “violons de maitre”, most likely the work of Alfred Acoulon More details


Alexander Hume Violin, London 1925

£10,000

Alex Hume violinAlex Hume was born in Dumfries, Scotland, and started out as a professional violinist before turning to making. He had a successful business in the 1920s and 1930s selling a range of instruments under his own label. Some of these were bought in and modified, like the Luigi Salsedo violins marketed north of the border by Jim Tait, others were made by Hume himself. More details


Gustav Methfessel Violin, Bern circa 1905

SOLD More details


A Fine Hungarian Violin by Jozsef Mirth, Budapest 1933

£10,000

A Fine Hungarian Violin by Jozsef Mirth, BudapestJozsef Mirth worked for Miska Frirsz and Janos Spiegel before stepping out on his own – he was a prolific maker, but remains pretty much unknown outside Hungary. This violin is a superb example of the Budapest style that reached perfection in the work of Paulus Pilat. The varnish is gorgeous, the wood is superb, and the execution of the scroll, f-holes and edges is precise and artistic. More details


Mathias Heinicke, Wildstein bei Eger 1931

Recently sold

Mathias Heinicke violinThis is a tremendous violin by the Hungarian-born maker Mathias Heinicke. Heinicke always claimed to have trained under Eugenio Degani, though this hasn’t been verified as far as I know. But whatever the truth of it, his violins show an unusual refinement and individuality, and are generally very successful tonally. It’s important to point out that there are a lot of fake Heinickes out there … fortunately authentic examples are easy to spot More details


Charles J.B. Collin-Mézin Violin, Paris 1898

£12,000

Charles J.B. Collin-Mézin Violin, Paris 1898Collin-Mézin is probably one of the best known names in the violin trade. Although the firm went rather downhill in the 20th century, pre-1900 violins by Collin-Mézin Senior are very sought after, partly because they represent the best in Mirecourt workmanship, partly because they are always successful tonally. More details


Alessandro Di Matteo Violin, Cremona 2009

£16,000

Contemporary Italian violinAlessandro Di Matteo started out life as a professional violinist, but soon switched his attention to making. Perhaps that explains the unusual tonal refinement of this violin. I’m no big fan of contemporary making, particularly the New Cremonese school, but this violin really stands apart from that trend. It’s lightly built, individual in model, modest in appearance, and very mature and sophisticated in tone. The materials used are first class and the work is superb. More details


François Hippolyte Caussin, Neufchateau circa 1870

SOLD More details


Thomas Hardie Violin, Edinburgh 1848

£16,500

Thomas Hardie Violin, Edinburgh 1848When it comes to Scottish violins, there’s the Hardies (Matthew and his son Thomas), and then there’s everyone else ….! Thomas Hardie suffers in the literature from being the son of his father, but his work is more refined, and this del Gesu pattern perhaps represents the pinnacle of Scottish violin-making. There are some lovely details, for example the delicate fluting on the f-holes and the all-too-realistic del Gesu compass marks on the scroll. More details


Bela Szepessy Violin, London 1914

£18,500

Bela Szepessy ViolinAlthough Szepessy spent most of his working life in London, his violin-making remained entirely in the Hungarian tradition. Szepessy apprenticed with Samuel Nemessanyi and Thomas Zach – in this particular violin you could say that the sublime workmanship derives from Nemessanyi, the spectacular varnish from Zach. Szepessy made great violins, and this one is absolutely typical – it’s a Strad model, quite late for Szepessy, with a deep red varnish, beautifully preserved. More details


Paul Bailly Violin, Paris circa 1890

£18,500

Paul Bailly Violin, Paris circa 1890We have four Paul Bailly violins right now – perhaps that’s some indication of how I rate him as a maker. This is the least expensive due to the back length, but it has a fantastic sound. More details


Small ¾ Mirecourt Stradivarius Pattern Violin circa 1900

Recently sold

Small ¾ Mirecourt Stradivarius Pattern circa 1900A particularly attractive Mirecourt ¾ violin with a Stradivarius 1723 label, this instrument has the refinements of better Mirecourt work such as an inked scroll and rib corners, slightly fluted f-holes and a rich amber-brown oil varnish. The sound is bright, sweet and musical, surprisingly good for the size of the violin. More details


Paul Bailly Violin, Paris circa 1875

£22,000

Paul Bailly Violin, Paris circa 1875Paul Bailly is definitely the most interesting maker to have come out of the Vuillaume shop, and this is the first of 3 violins of his which we will be offering. Bailly was a tireless experimenter – he also moved house a lot, working in Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Reims, Leeds, and finally Paris again! Very few makers worked to so many different models, and yet his style is always distinctive, with a softness around the edges quite uncharacteristic of French making in this period, More details


Georges Chanot (II) Violin, London 1861

On trial, £25,000

Georges Chanot ViolinIs this a French violin or an English violin? Hard to say! It was made in London, but Chanot himself was French, and had come to London ten years earlier to work alongside fellow Frenchman Charles Maucotel. There was a huge influx of French makers on the London scene at this time, and the Chanot family in particular became a vital part of English violin making. More details


Paul Bailly Violin, London 1890

£25,000

Paul Bailly Violin, London 1890Paul Bailly is definitely the most interesting maker to have come out of the Vuillaume shop, and this is the second of three violins of his which we will be offering. Bailly was a tireless experimenter – he also moved house a lot, working in Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Reims, Leeds, and finally Paris again! More details


Gabriel Lemböck Violin, Vienna 1862

£35,000

Gabriel Lemböck Violin, Vienna 1862For me, Gabriel Lemböck is the stand-out maker of the Viennese school. Although his later instruments were rather commercial, his best work is outstanding, both in tone and in execution. For much of his working life he copied the Paganini “Cannone” which he had studied while working for Anton Fischer, and this violin is a beautifully stylised interpretation (though clearly Lemböck wasn’t prepared to embrace the brutality of del Gesu’s original scroll)! More details


Charles Adolphe Maucotel Violin, Paris circa 1850

£40,000

Charles Adolphe Maucotel Violin“A Vuillaume by any other name would smell as sweet …”! Here we have a superb sounding violin by Vuillaume’s right hand man, Charles Adolphe Maucotel. It is in almost all respects indistinguishable from a Vuillame, and it has a superb concert sound. More details


Hippolyte Chrétien Silvestre Violin, Paris 1892

£42,000

Hippolyte Chrétien Silvestre ViolinThe Silvestre family are at the heart of French violin-making in the 19th century. Pierre Silvestre worked with Lupot and Gand, and subsequently trained most of the great Lyon makers. Hippolyte worked for Vuillaume before joining his brother in Lyon. Their nephew Hippolyte Chrétien brought all this vast experience together and produced beautiful instruments which are unrivalled both for sound and for quality of workmanship. More details


Pierre & Hippolyte Silvestre Violin, Lyon 1844

£50,000

Pierre & Hippolyte Silvestre Violin, Lyon 1844The Silvestres were exceptional makers, and their success owes much to their training with Nicolas Lupot and JB Vuillaume. The two brothers worked together from 1829 until 1848, and this violin is a very fine example of their collaborative work. It’s in an exceptional state of preservation, free from repairs or damages, and with very little wear to the original varnish. More details


Hippolyte Silvestre Violin, Lyon 1862

Price on application

Hippolyte Silvestre Violin, Lyon 1862Pierre and Hippolyte Silvestre were exceptional makers, and their success owes much to their training with Nicolas Lupot and JB Vuillaume respectively. The two brothers worked together from 1829 until 1848, and then worked independently – Hippolyte survived his brother by 20 years and produced the greater number of instruments, but both makers are accorded equal status within the trade. This Guarneri model violin is a superb example of Hippolyte’s later work, and it’s in great condition. More details


Joseph Calot Violin, Paris circa 1815

Recently sold

Joseph Calot ViolinA fine violin made by Joseph Calot in the workshop of Nicolas Lupot, in near perfect condition. More details


Constantino Celani Violin, Ascoli Piceno 1900

Price on application

Constantino Celani Violin, Ascoli Piceno 1900Constantino and Emidio or Emilio Celani (Il Turco) were brothers making a wide range of musical instruments in the Marche region of West Central Italy. Although their work is not particularly refined, they used excellent and successful models, and the materials are always good. This violin has a beautifully flamed back and scroll made from local maple, and a rich oil varnish over a golden ground. The purfling is hand made, the blacks being dyed hardwood rather than ebony. More details


Martin Fendt Violin, London circa 1840

Recently sold

Martin Fendt ViolinThis is a superb Strad copy by Martin Fendt, and one of the finest English violins I have seen. Tonally it’s also a complete knockout. It was the favourite instrument of Howard Davis, much loved British violinist and leader of the Alberni Quartet. The violin can be heard on many of Davis’ recordings. More details


Giuseppe Baldantoni Violin, Ancona circa 1840

Price on application

Giuseppe Baldantoni Violin, Ancona  circa 1840This is an outstanding example of Baldantoni’s work in near perfect condition. It also has a powerful and sophisticated sound suitable for a demanding soloist. A leading maker of the Central Italian school, Baldantoni followed a broadly Stradivari model with slightly flattened arches. His instruments tend to be very successful tonally with great projection. More details


Bisiach Workshop Violin, Milan circa 1930

Bisiach Workshop Violin, Milan circa 1930
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Bisiach Workshop Violin, Milan circa 1925

Bisiach Workshop Violin, Milan circa 1925

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Alecio Reis Violin Bow, Brazil/UK

£900

New Brazilian Violin Bow,This is a very blingy Tourte model bow made from excellent Brazilian pernambuco, assembled and finished by Alecio Luiz Dos Reis, a young Brazilian maker living in the UK. It represents excellent value for money. The stick is of dark brown round section pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. More details


Alecio Reis Violin Bow, Brazil/UK

Recently sold

Alecio Reis Violin Bow, Brazil/UK These new bows are made from high quality Brazilian pernambuco, and are assembled and finished by Alecio Reis, a young Brazilian maker living in the UK. This example has a Hill-style unlined ebony frog – the stick is round section. More details


Gustav Prager Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1920

SOLD More details


Pillot Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920

£1,350

Pillot Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920
This is a relatively modest Mirecourt bow stamped Pillot which plays superbly. The stick is of deep red pernambuco, mounts are ebony and nickel. The condition is excellent throughout, with the exception of the ebony collar of the adjuster which has two small cracks. More details


Cuniot-Hury Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920

£1,700

Cuniot-Hury Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920This is a very good Cuniot-Hury made by Emile F. Ouchard, who apprenticed with Eugene Cuniot-Hury and then took over the workshop in 1912. The model is characterized by a tall narrow head and a frog with a rounded heel – the plain adjuster of slightly greater diameter than the stick is also typical. The output of this workshop is vary varied in quality, but this is a lovely example, finely worked and with good wood. More details


Jacques Poullot Violin Bow, Dijon 2015

On trial, £2,250

Jacques Poullot Violin Bow,  Dijon 2015This is a new bow by contemporary French maker Jacques Poullot. Like so many of the new wave of French makers, Poullot studied under Bernard Ouchard, but he is a highly respected maker in his own right. The bow we are offering for sale is his ‘Special Atelier’ model with a plain pearl eye, stick of round section red pernambuco, and sliver and ebony mounts. More details


Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow for Chanot, circa 1920

£2,500

Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow for Chanot, circa 1920

This is a lovely Markneukirchen bow made for the London firm of Chanot by the Nürnberger workshop. The head and the pinning of the underslide are identical to this authentically branded Nürnberger. The stick is of round section mid-brown pernambuco, mounts are of silver and ebony. The condition is excellent. More details


Roger Francois Lotte Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1950 (later mounts)

£2,500

Roger Francois Lotte Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1950This is a classic Mirecourt bow made by Roger Francois Lotte, branded Georges Coné & Fils Lyon. Lotte supplied a lot of unbranded bows like this to French violin-makers such as Coné. The mounts are not typical of Lotte – although they are a perfect fit and of fine quality, it seems wise to assume they aren’t original. The stick is of round section red pernambuco – the wire lapping appears original and everything is in excellent condition. More details


Cousenon Bernardel Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1930

£2,750

Cousenon Bernardel Violin Bow,  Mirecourt circa 1930
This is a very good silver-mounted Mirecourt bow stamped Leon Bernardel Paris. This brand was owned by the Cousenon firm, but most likely the bow was supplied by the Laberte workshops. Typical French features include the cuts to the corners of the ferrule and the visible transition from octagonal to round section beyond the end of the lapping. More details


HR Pfretzschner Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1920

£3,500

HR Pfretzschner Violin BowIt’s great to see the violin world finally waking up to the qualities of good German bows. There is absolutely no difference in quality of work or playability between fine French and German bows, and this Pfretzschner proves the point perfectly. Very elegant, made with superb materials, and a joy to use. More details


WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow circa 1940

£3,500

WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow circa 1940
This a lovely Hill bow by Arthur Copley, silver mounted, and with its original whalebone lapping. Although it bears the WE Hill & Son stamp reserved for their best bows, it’s a bit tatty here and there, hence the bargain price. There are no significant condition issues, but the frog is chipped and has a repaired crack, the stick’s a bit nibbled here and there, and the silver face plate is slightly dented. More details


WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow, London circa 1930 (Frank Napier)

SOLD More details


WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow, London circa 1950

£4,000

WE Hill & Sons Violin BowThis is a lovely Hill bow from the late 1940s, bearing no maker’s mark on the face but probably the work of Arthur Brown. The bow is branded WE H&S – Hill bows were sorted into 4 grades before branding, WE H&S being the second level of quality. This example is in perfect condition, dead straight and without defect– it’s made of octagonal section dark brown pernambuco, and has plain ebony mounts with a silver ferrule and face. The frog is mounted with a full pearl slide and heel, and the adjuster is silver. More details


Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1890

£5,000

Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1890This is a very nice lightweight Albert Nürnberger from around 1890. Although it carries an 1878 brand, Klaus Grünke tells me that this doesn’t relate to the year of manufacture. It also bears a Wurlitzer brand, indicating that it was made for or sold by Wurlitzer in New York. The stick is of round section lightly flamed chocolate brown pernambuco, with a distinctly French transition from octagonal to round; the frog is silver-mounted. All parts are original and the condition is excellent More details


Franz Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow, Markneukirchen c 1910

£6,000

Franz Albert Nürnberger Violin Bow, Markneukirchen circa 1910This is a very fine early 20th century Tourte model Nürnberger bow, bearing a “Saxony” brand on the underside of the stick behind the frog. The stick is of octagonal section red-brown pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition is exceptional, with no issues to report. More details


Bernard Ouchard Violin Bow, Geneva circa 1960

£7,000

Bernard Ouchard Violin BowYou can recognize a Bernard Ouchard bow from a mile away – highly distinctive styling, beautiful workmanship, and always a touch of bling. Aside from being a very pretty object, this bow is an outstanding player which ticks all the boxes, and does great credit to its maker and to the illustrious Ouchard name. More details


WE Hill & Sons Violin Bow, London circa 1970

£8,000

WE Hill & Sons Violin BowThis is a superb gold and tortoiseshell mounted Hill bow from the 1970s. The bow is branded WE Hill & Son, this brand being reserved for the best quality of sticks. However, we don’t need the brand to tell us what the quality of the bow is, since gold and tortoiseshell Hills are the pinnacle of their output. This example is in perfect condition, dead straight and unblemished – it’s made of octagonal section mid brown pernambuco, and has gold mounts and a gold face. More details


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