Fillion

| 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 […]

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 […]

Carlo Antonio Taneggia

| November 22, 2011

I went to a performance at the English National Opera last weekend. Above the safety curtain, and part of the permanent structure of the place, is a large sign which says COLISEVM. And it set me to thinking about the use of V instead of U. Stradivari, famously, did it the opposite way round: the […]

C.F.Vuillaume

| May 17, 2011

This violin was catalogued in a specialised violin auction (Gardiner Houlgate, March 2011) as “Late 19th Century . . . ” with no further attempt to narrow down the attribution. It was estimated at £100/150 and was in a very neglected state. I was pleased to get it for £448.40p. It ‘s much earlier than […]

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 […]

Strings on Screen

| June 9, 2010

I was once involved in a television advertisement for some kind of beer. I had to handle a genuine Stradivari and a fake – the advertising strapline was “For those that can tell the difference.” I didn’t have to say anything at all. I just had to swirl the violins around in a safe-but-yet-with-bravado sort […]

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 […]

Violins – why colour matters

| November 15, 2009

I must confess immediately that I am colour blind.  Not just the usual red-green confusion, but something far worse, or so I’m told – for how would I know?  Of course, I’ve grown up with the inability to match socks and so on, but it has rarely mattered.   As a child,  everybody else in […]