Posted By on March 12, 2017

violin by Fillion

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 Hill instruments dating from just before the end of the 19th century were made by French-trained luthiers: Charles Langonet, Joseph Maurice Somny and Georges Fillion seem to have been the best of them. There was a golden period around 1895 when all three were in the same workshop. However there were other Frenchmen too: Delunet, Marchand, Frelainet and Jenin . . . that’s seven Mirecourt-trained luthiers working for the British company.

Violin by Fillion

The Hills pursued excellence in their restorations and their products, and Fillion was very proud of having worked for them. He left the Hills in 1896, settling in Strasbourg. However some of his violins were clearly aimed at the British market and were sold in London. The labels of these are in English and bear the words “Scholar of W. Hill & Sons”.

The label of this particular violin tells us this is No 58, dating from 1899. It is also inscribed 1er Qt, meaning first quality. He only did this if he thought it deserved it. The later example illustrated in Réne Vannes’ Dictionnaire is inscribed 2nd Q.

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