Gand & Bernardel were the largest and most prestigious Parisian workshop of the late 19th century. To a great extent they took on the mantle of JB Vuillaume, adopting similar working practices, employing excellent makers and also producing beautiful bows.

The Gand & Bernardel lineage goes back to Nicolas Lupot – Charles Nicolas Gand apprenticed with Lupot before establishing his own business. Gand & Bernardel instruments are very characteristic – finely worked in the high Parisian style, generally with cherry-red or deep red varnish.

This viola is a typical example, very elegant, quite striking in appearance, and just too French for words. The f-holes are super-sharp, the inking on the scroll bold and sculptural, and the edges sharp and crisp.

The condition is excellent – there’s a neatly repaired wing crack to the right f-hole and there are a few scuffs and chips that have been nicely retouched, otherwise no issues.

I’ve never been too impressed with Gand & Bernardel violins – they look exquisite but tend to be heavy and inflexible – but their larger instruments are a different story. This instrument has real character – very mellow, broad and expansive in tone, with excellent response. There’s a very attractive “sticky” quality to the strings, a touch of grit, and bags of sustain – all of which contributes to a refined, lyrical and romantic sound.

This would be a great instrument for a section player – perhaps someone looking for a distinctive voice which can still blend in.

Contact us

We offer a personal service to all our customers, and are happy to chat on the phone or by email.

This website is our shop window.
We also welcome customers by appointment to our showroom in Wells, Somerset, and we make regular trips to meet clients in London, Brussels, Cologne, Munich and Vienna.

Martin Swan