| October 4, 2018

There was a time when it was essential for upper and middle class women to be able to dance. Hard to imagine now, but for most of the 18th century European society would know exactly what was expected, and more prosaically where to put its legs, if the band struck up a bourĂ©e, or a […]


| March 12, 2017

This violin was made in 1899 in Strasbourg, but in some ways it could be considered English. The maker, Georges Fillion, was born in France (in 1869) and was initially trained in Mirecourt. He then worked briefly in Switzerland and Paris, but most importantly London, for the firm of W.E. Hill & Sons. The beautiful […]

Irish / French Violin

| February 12, 2017

This violin is unmistakably Irish. It’s very like an instrument by Thomas Perry of Dublin, or of his cousin James Perry of Kilkenny. It’s unpurfled, and broadly similar to much English work of the late 18th century, except internally it has the tiny corner blocks usual in Irish violins, and externally the soundholes are very […]

Cello by Thomas Kennedy

| July 1, 2014

Here’s a lovely cello by Thomas Kennedy. It dates from 1820, and, as well as having its proper label, it has Kennedy’s handwritten and dated inscription both underneath the front and inside the back Now, there are lots of cellos by this maker, so what’s special about this one? Its condition. The table has a […]


| December 4, 2013

This blog is simply a link to an advert of mine that will appear in the Galpin Society Journal next year. It’s self-explanatory. Please click here. help for parents .

A French Lyre-Guitar

| August 29, 2013

Sometimes violin-dealers find different instruments, and sometimes they find them irresistible. I bought this at a general auction where it was miscatalogued (a guitar in the mediaeval manner) and underestimated – but in very good condition. In the past, luthiers, that is, instrument makers, used to be far less specialised than is the case today. […]

Irish Heritage

| July 2, 2013

Sometimes life throws up weird coincidences. Having only ever seen one instrument by James Perry of Kilkenny before (a viola, back in 1986), two turn up at the same time. James Perry was probably the younger brother of the better-known Thomas Perry in Dublin. Thomas died in 1818. I don’t think it’s known when James […]

Surprising Wood

| April 2, 2013

Here’s a really beautiful violin. I bought it from an antique dealer. He told me it had come from a house clearance. It was in an old case together with a really nice tortoiseshell-mounted bow. The label looks completely original – somebody famous, and it’s dated 1905. So it has all the ingredients of a […]

Transitional English Cellos

| January 3, 2013

Here’s a rather bad photograph of two astonishing cellos. I think I might make an advertisement based on these instruments, and I’m experimenting with camera angles and so on: I’d like the final image to be good and striking. But until then this’ll have to do. One of these has had only one owner: Henry […]

Small-sized-but-full-sized cellos

| August 4, 2012

It seems to me that there are a great many people who are passionate about playing the cello, but who struggle with the physical size of the instrument . . . more commonly, with the left-hand stretches needed. Some, in their fifties, having played a normal-sized instrument all their lives, suddenly throw in the towel […]