This is a violin by one of the most respected English makers of the 20th century, George Wulme Hudson. It’s a brilliant sounding violin suitable for a budding soloist, and in excellent condition.
George Wulme Hudson is probably best known as one of several English copyists whose mastery of the black arts allowed them to pass off their violins as “Old Italians” in the salerooms of Puttick & Simpson. Hudson started out life working in a pawnbrokers before being apprenticed to TJ Holder, and both he and John Wilkinson produced numerous pseudo-Italian violins in the Voller/Holder tradition alongside their more straightforward output.
This violin is a “straight” Wulme Hudson, bearing his own label – it will have left his workshop with a minimum of shading to the varnish. Interestingly it seems to be modelled on a Jacques Thibout from the 1820s – the unusual construction of the rib corners is something I have only ever seen on Thibout, and the model and dimensions are generally quite reminiscent of this maker.
The condition of the violin is exemplary – there are no cracks, damages or repairs. The original varnish is well preserved though there’s a bit of loss around the bridge platform and some fingernail wear to the right of the fingerboard.
This is a very bold and powerful violin, definitely not for a faint-hearted player. It has a full and earthy low register, it’s punchy and articulate in the middle, and the E string is astounding, very full and musical all the way into the dusty reaches of the fingerboard.
It definitely requires a bit of technique to get the best out of it, but this is an ideal violin for a young conservatoire player who needs to be heard in the big romantic repertoire.
It has a wide range of colours and bottomless reserves – Wulme Hudson was himself a keen violinist, and this is a very successful model which was obviously developed for sound rather than for lightening the pockets of limp-brained Italophiles!