Our current selection of violas, including our new handmade instruments, contemporary/ 20th century and antique violas. We specialise in small violas for adult players.

MSV55 Stradivarius Pattern Viola 40.5cm, Martin Swan Violins

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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

A Scottish Viola by Alex Youngson, Glasgow 1974


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

Bohemian Small Viola, circa 1900


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


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

Bohemian Small Viola, circa 1830

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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

Mittenwald Small Viola circa 1830


Mittenwald Small ViolaA fine sounding small viola from the early 19th century in near-mint condition. More details

Mittenwald Small Viola, circa 1870


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

Nicolas Augustin Chappuy Small Viola circa 1770


Nicolas Augustin Chappuy Small ViolaThis is a fine 18th century French viola of the “Vieux Paris” school. It has a very credible Guersan label but in fact it’s the work of Nicolas Chappuy showing many of his trademark touches. More details

John Wilkinson Viola, London circa 1930


John Wilkinson ViolaJohn Wilkinson was a highly talented English maker of the early 20th century, best known for the copies of classical instruments he made for J&A Beare. This viola s a lovely example of his copy style with very credible antiqueing, and showing the typical reddish Beares tint to the neck. The condition is outstanding, with no damage and very little wear. More details

Betts Workshop Small Viola, circa 1803

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Small Betts violaSince we started specialising in small violas, we’ve been consistently surprised by the quality of London instruments, particularly Betts and Forster. Here’s another example, a lovely Betts Shop viola with a big and beautiful sound. More details

Caspar Strnad Viola, Prague 1819


Caspar Strnad ViolaI have to admit to being completely obsessed by the Prague School, and in particular the instruments of Caspar Strnad and his contemporaries or co-workers. Consistently adventurous in model, with exquisite workmanship and great tone, these instruments are generally rather better than Italian violins of the period. More details

Albert Caressa Viola, Paris 1922


Albert Caressa ViolaCaressa & Français ran the most illustrious workshop in Paris in the early 20th century. They represented a direct line back through Gand & Bernardel to the most influential makers of the early 19th century, and their house style is the archetypal French style, crisp and sculptural. This very fine viola is a typical example, beautifully preserved with all its sharp lines unsullied! More details

Joseph Couturieux Viola, Paris circa 1850


Parisian violaJoseph Couturieux or Couturieux “Fils” is a very rare maker who worked briefly for JB Vuillaume. This beautiful instrument is something of an enigma – it has a Vuillaume label, it looks in every way like a Vuillaume, yet it has an original Couturieux signature. Was it made in the Vuillaume shop or not? Whatever its history, it’s a very fine Parisian viola in near-mint condition. More details

Johannes Theodorus Cuypers Viola, Den Haag (The Hague) 1777


Johannes Theodorus Cuypers ViolaJohannes Theodorus Cuypers is perhaps the best known and most respected maker of the Dutch School, and there are few non-Italian makers who command such admiration amongst players and experts alike. This is a really fine example from his best period, before he had his rather less dedicated sons to help him! More details

Paolo Castello Small Viola, Genoa circa 1770

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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

Choosing a viola? We specialise in small violas…

Although most of our prejudices about instruments filter down from the current orchestral fashions, there are many situations in which a large soundbox is of no particular benefit, and where a big viola just proves unwieldy. Klezmer, traditional and gypsy musicians tend to favour small instruments, as do classical musicians who are answerable only to themselves! More details

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