Instruments for sale


I have some excellent French violins in stock. Debatably the best is by Joseph Hel of Lille, made in 1886. It's just perfect, and nobody could doubt it, however it has a certificate from Paul Voigt. (Images here) Other violins include a beautiful example by Auguste Sebastien Phillippe Bernardel (Images here), the very violin made for the 1866 exhibition, and a beautiful early violin by Honore Derazey with the plain Derazey stamp. This is one of those probably made for J.B. Vuillaume, for it had a Vuillaume label stuck above the stamp.(Images here) I also have a violin by his son, Juste (Justin) Derazey. A special thing is the violin made for the prizewinning student at the Paris Conservatoire in 1915, by Caressa & Francais. (Images here) I have a perfect Guarneri-model violin by Collin-Mézin dated 1909: how about this: (Images here). Also I have violins by Lavest of Montlucon and Jean Striebig. These last two are by little known makers, but they're good. Two 18th Century French instruments are by Jacques Bocquay, typically oversized but with a normal string length,( Images here) and by Claude Pierray. Oh, here's some fun: a painted violin by Nicolas Morlot. After all, why not paint a violin? It doesn't affect the sound and it's decorative. These days violinists are very conservative in their tastes, but there was a time when such violins were quite common. Joseph Mast of Toulouse, for example, often painted his instruments. This one, by Morlot, dates from around 1830, and is a tolerably well-executed copy of the famous propaganda picture of Napoleon and his horse Marengo, by Davide. (Images here). The front is not painted, so the picture could be the player's secret in most circumstances. Oh! I nearly forgot. It sounds really good: clear and powerful.

French violins


Joseph Hel, Lille, 1886


Images here


Paul Bailly, Paris, 1900



Caressa & Francais, Paris, 1914



Claude Chevrier, Mirecourt



Jean Striebig, Mirecourt, 1937



Mirecourt, late 19th Century



Mirecourt School, late 19th Century



French, Jombar workshop, Paris 1934



French violin



Mirecourt School, late 19thC.,labelled L.Bernadel



French violin



French violin


English violins

Here is a beautiful violin by Betts. It's one of the rare ones made around 1785 with a diamond pattern inlay in the back, and it is in perfect condition. (Images here) This is by Bernard Simon Fendt, and is utterly typical of the maker. (Images here) I have a violin by Charles & Samuel Thompson, circa 1770, with a nice undated label inside. I don't know whether there's another label of the actual maker under the table - but I don't think so. I can't find anything with a mirror, and, as the instrument is in good playing condition, I don't think it's worthwhile to take the table off.  A somewhat earlier violin is by Robert Thompson. This has its original label dated 1756, and is in wonderful condition. Despite being highly arched it breaks the rules by being very powerful. I doubt there's a better example available. ( Images here) I can offer two different violins by Goulding, and another by Longman & Co. - earlier than Longman & Broderip - this dates from 1767-1769.


Tobin/Arthur Betts school, London, circa 1840



Béla Szepessy, London, 1919


Images here


Georges Fillion, London, 1899



George Buckman, Dover, 1920



Goulding & Co., London, circa 1820



John Martin, 1880


German violins


Grigori Ferdinand Wenger, Augsburg, 1762, in almost perfect state


Images here


Nurnberg School, 18th Century,



Mittenwald School



Dresden school, circa 1930



Berlin school, labelled Ruggieri






Dresden, circa 1920



German, labelled Muncher, 1940



Saxon school, circa 1920


Other nationality violins

Where are the Italian violins on my website? Well, perhaps for obvious reasons these are not listed in the same way. Named old Italian instruments are much more expensive, and for insurance reasons may not be stored here. For details of what I have that is available please contact me. Without being too specific, I have, for example, a late 17th century Italian violin by an excellent maker with impeccable certification. Lower down the scale I have a superb violin by Eugenio Degani, made in Venice in 1894. This is in perfect original state, with its lightened fingerboard and so on.

Old Italian violins are just shooting up in price, so it is a pleasure to have a reasonably-priced example (22,000) in stock.

According to dendrochronology, it probably dates from circa 1720. It's got various bits of wood let into the edges of the back and so on, but it doesn't have a soundpost crack in the back and it doesn't have any problems associated with the neck block. It's in very reasonable condition. It has a rather square-shouldered outline but attractive wood and a fine clear Grancino-like varnish. I think it's probably by a maker called Carlo Antonio Taneggia. I have seen only three instruments by this maker, so I'm no kind of authority - but nonetheless this reminds me of all three. Images here

Small, Half & Three-Quarter Size Violins

I always have a selection of good small-sized violins. This means that I do not sell the most basic school instruments for beginners - these may be purchased from a high street shop. My stock is meant for children who are clearly going to be good players, and who deserve something that is a serious instrument, not a toy.

Because children grow, my small-sized violins do not tend to stay in any one family's possession for more than two years. Provided they have been looked after I am perfectly willing to re-purchase them at the full price in exchange for the next, larger, instrument.


Viola players are difficult to please - no two players ever seem to want the same length instrument, or if they do, they want different widths and rib depths and so on. A list is therefore meaningless - it cannot possibly convey enough information to help a potential player. However my stock is changing all the time, of course. It is best to phone and let me know the kind of thing you are looking for. I'll be able to tell you if I have anything suitable.

I have a good selection of instruments made by modern makers - several by the late Dennis Plowright, at a price far below half what they cost when new, and a much better instrument by Michaela Wedemeyer. Michaela's violas are well respected and this is a bargain at 7,500. A fascinating viola with a testimonal letter from the previous owner, a respected soloist, is by Gil Solomon. This was made in Cremona in 1970. It's absolutely suitable for concerto work, and probably an investment at 14,000

As of the 20th August 2013 I have a secondhand viola by Colin Irving. It was made in 1986, and measures exactly 16 in.(406mm), with a string length of 363mm. It's in perfect condition and is a bargain at 11,000.

I have several 19th Century German and French violas, including a vast German instrument, 16 9/16 in and wide with it. It's nothing special, just a (good) factory thing, circa 1880 - but in clean condition and somehow attractive. It's for those who like a cello under their chin, really. I've a nice French 16 in viola, made around the end of the 19th century, with really clean workmanship and a surprisingly deep tone at 2,500.

All else being equal, small violas are, actually, inherently louder than large ones. Think. Small violins, like those by Guarneri, are even more powerful than those of Stradivari. A well set-up violin is every bit as loud as a cello, and quite a bit louder than a double bass. Acoustic volume is not dependent on spatial volume. This still holds true for the lowest string; the C string. Of course a small viola won't sound so much like a cello - but it'll still sound different from a violin and be able to play the viola repertoire. If you are uncomfortable with a standard size (say, 16 inches) instrument then do consider something smaller . . . such as my superb viola by Bernhard Simon Fendt. It's just over 15 inches, but is, perhaps, rather too powerful for the average string quartet. Images here


There is a waiting-list for new cellos by Colin Irving, and secondhand examples rarely come on the market. So it is a pleasure to offer a superb, large and powerful cello by Colin, made in 1985. It's perfect, and cheaper than a new one. It's 18,000.

Having recently sold a cello by Thomas Dodd it is a surprise and pleasure to be able offer another one, this time with a certificate from W.E. Hill & Sons. It was made by John Lott, (the father of the famous Jack Lott) around 1805. It's almost perfect except that the varnish has done that English got-too-hot-and-become-crazed thing. It sounds fantastic, with a really strong C string. It's 70,000.

Just in is a very rare thing - an Irish cello made by James (not Thomas) Perry, of Kilkenny. It was made in 1791 and is both stamped and labelled - a beautiful, original manuscript label. It's 15,000

I have an excellent slightly small cello, made by Thomas Smith of London, with its original label dated 1772 (? the last number is written, not printed, and hard to make out.) It's a beautiful thing, but only 16,000 because there's a new piece of wood in the table. But another English cello, made around 1800 or very early in the 19th Century, (so, I suppose, Kennedy school) is of a completely standard size and in good condition. For some unknown reason it sounds wonderful. This one's 17,000.

Another beautiful cello is by Bernard Simon Fendt, made in the early 19th century. It's lovely in every detail except for a tiny soundpost crack in the back, which is a shame, because it doesn't affect the sound at all - but the value has been halved, or even slightly more so. It's now ready at 38,000.

Yet another English cello, circa 1835, by Thomas Kennedy is now (June 2013) available at 40,000.

I have another "lady's-size" cello. I dislike this expression, but it's in common usage for slightly-small-yet-full-sized cellos. It's a beautiful French instrument, probably Parisian, around 1870, with a really glamorous back, at 10,000.

I have one more nineteenth century French cello and three nineteenth Century German cellos ranging from 2,800 to 7,500.

I've two good three-quarter size cellos in stock.

I have five new instruments of varying qualities ranging from around 1,500 to 5,000, but more are on the way


In common with most violin dealers, I don't deal with many double basses. However I have a good secondhand "standard" size (which means ¾ size) bass in stock. It's 2,000 and is just lovely.

Andrew Hooker Violins
Christchurch House
Rode Hill,
Bath, Somerset
BA11 6PS


or Telephone : +44 (0)1373 831464