| February 8, 2011

I’ve just come back from Budapest. There’s an exhibition called Opera and Nation there at the Museum of Music History, which is part of the Institute for Musicology of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. It has lots of stringed instruments in it, and it runs until the end of August 2011. Very often presentations of […]

The Entire New and Compleat Tutor for the Violin

| December 2, 2010

This lovely thing, published by John Preston, was found inside an 18th Century violin case containing a violin labelled Preston and two baroque bows, neither of which was stamped and both of which were broken. That excellent book The British Violin notes that John Barton made instruments for Preston, and indeed the violin was inscribed […]

Anciaume le Jeune

| August 7, 2010

This violin is branded in two places, at the top of the back and inside, and both brands are as new-looking as the rest of it: Anciaume le Jeune. The neck (and indeed the fingerboard) are original. It’s a transitional-period instrument, the neck being less angled than that of a modern violin and very short […]

Cahusac Violin

| July 14, 2010

Cahusac violin Violin label Here is an interesting and inexpensive violin by Cahusac of London, dating from 1786. A label inside says so, but I can’t believe that the label is genuine. It’s not printed, but inscribed Cahusac, Strand, London, 1786, in an antique hand – but whether the handwriting is 18th of early 19th […]


| April 15, 2010

Shortly after we moved into the old church we were approached with a request to host a Bach harpsichord recital here. The acoustics are excellent and we have plenty of space. The event was attended by sixty-one people, and on the whole was a success. Immediately afterwards a local choir asked to do a concert […]

Lockey Hill Violin

| March 24, 2010

  I have a violin with an indistinct brand, Longman & something or other, and I thought to have a closer look at it. It actually reads Longman, Lukey & Co., No. 26, Cheapside, London. Its unusual feature is the peculiar chevron stringing around the edges, in place of the conventional purfling. Longman instruments – […]

Death of a Violin

| March 8, 2010

The old certificate for this violin, which has a fake Joseph Hill label, described it as “Kloz School” without bothering with a date. I suppose it was made in the late 18th Century, and probably in Mittenwald, which indeed does make it of that school. The extended Kloz family produced large numbers of instruments in […]

Richard Tobin? Well, School of . . .

| January 17, 2010

Look at this. It’s just gorgeous. I bought it at a regional auction where they had all sorts of junk, and the pre-sale estimate was £500/800. Some violins just stand out for their quality. Apart from being amazed by the beauty of the varnish it was immediately apparent that this was most carefully and tastefully […]

Decorated Instruments

| December 17, 2009

Violins are handsome objects, no question about it. Lots of writers have gone into ecstasies about the outline, the varnish and the subtle arching and so on. Most of a violin’s form is necessary. Its general shape and size are defined by what is practical and what makes the best sound – it must have […]

Soundpost cracks – should they matter?

| December 7, 2009

I have just been shown a very beautiful smallish Italian violin, dating from around the middle of the 17th century and attributed to Andrea Guarneri.  It has an old and slightly ambiguous certificate and a recent unambiguous dendrochronology report.  The table can be definitely dated to 1630, and the report adds that, as the edges […]