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warren

Hart and Son

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I had the opportunity of trying a friend's Hart and Son, which was surprisingly good. Out of curiosity I did an internet search. It seems that Hart and Son violins are fairly high-priced (5,000 GBP and up). Are they more than ordinary trade violins?

Warren

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If I remember correctly from "the British Violin", Hart & Co employed at various time, either directly or on a freelance basis, several of the top London copyists of the late 19th century, including the Voller brothers. So yes, their violins could be very good. However, unless you are an expert in 19th Century English Violins, or have access to the Hart & Co stock lists, you wouldn't be able to tell who built which, so buying one would be a bit of a lottery.

Regards

Rob

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Later instruments bearing their label are all (according to Beare's) Mirecourt factory productions, usually of reasonable quality. I once had a violin with their label dating from the 1920's. It was a typical Mirecourt instrument. Something dating from the 19th century would be another story altogether.

Ron

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8 minutes ago, Dust said:

Were or how do I get a copies of the Hart &Son stock list

 

Post photos based on the guide, and you can get some useful feedback.

If there is a bow with your viola, post information about that as well.

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On 3/17/2006 at 10:58 AM, fiddlecollector said:

They also imported alot of usual Mirecourt and probably German stuff and were agents for certain Italian makers of the time.

Pedrazzini comes to mind.

In regards to Pedrazzini, it was Hawkes & son, not Hart & son. Hawkes & Son were also agents for E. Rocca and G.Schwarz

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Hart & Sons can be quite a minefield, and people are right to say that Mirecourt and German instruments appear with their labels quite frequently and of varying (normally better than average) qualities. However, their adverts in the Strad Magazine in the 1890s Guaranteed that the instruments that they labelled as theirs were British-made. There are some instruments that appear which are "straight" Vollers, that are not awfully unlike good French work but with all the characteristics of their making, and equally there are instruments that can best be described as "Anglo-French" probably made in England by some of the various Mirecourt makers who came over here. The model and the shading of the varnish tends to be different from ordinary French work, and they can fit into a bracket where English experts think they are French and French experts think they are a little bit English.  W. Meredith Morris in 1904 goes into considerable depth in his introduction to British Violin Makers into differentiating between English "artists" and French "technicans", refraining from adding the French makers in Britain to his dictionary because he viewed them as artless. Needless to say, treat this area with extreme caution. I think that Hart & Sons may have rethought their policies on what to label as their own several times over the lifespan of their business. There are also better Voller brother violins, the sort that we might think of as fakes which have Hart labels in - especially ones that seem to mirror 19th century Italian making. Rocca and Pressenda seem to have interested them particularly, the latter lead to some violins (with Hart labels) that are surprisingly similar to later work by Fagnola. 

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Hart & Son also made cases, although they are absolutely identical to Hill cases of the time, making it plausible that one company made both. Which? No one seems to know. 

In any event Hart & Son had high-end clients as well. I own a double Hart & Son case which belonged to Eugene Ysaie. 

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I recall reading that Hill promoted workers from building cases to making bows if they showed an aptitude - if this is true, it suggests that the Hills made their own cases in house.

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4 hours ago, Three13 said:

I recall reading that Hill promoted workers from building cases to making bows if they showed an aptitude - if this is true, it suggests that the Hills made their own cases in house.

There is no doubt that Hill's made cases. Their "Art Cases" (aka "Apostles") are testament, as is their own catalog of the late 1880s where they showcase their new case making workshop. And yet the similarities between my Hart & Son and a period correct similar case by Hill's is quite obvious.

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I certainly have a bespoke made coffin case for a Bass Viol (of all things) that was restored by Withers, which has both a Withers label and a W.E. Hill & Sons (Wardour Street) label in it from the 1880/90s. It seems to me that Hills were probably the ones making them. 

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On 12/21/2019 at 6:13 PM, Ben Hebbert said:

I certainly have a bespoke made coffin case for a Bass Viol (of all things) that was restored by Withers, which has both a Withers label and a W.E. Hill & Sons (Wardour Street) label in it from the 1880/90s. It seems to me that Hills were probably the ones making them. 

Hmmm. My Hill "Apostle" is from 1887 and bears a New Bond Street label. 

16Y104841.jpg

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19 hours ago, Dimitri Musafia said:

Hmmm. My Hill "Apostle" is from 1887 and bears a New Bond Street label. 

16Y104841.jpg

I put 1880s/1890s because there is some uncertainty in my mind about when Hills left Wardour Street, and I strongly suspect that they kept a workshop there for some years after they moved to New Bond Street. Things are not at all clear during this period. 

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11 hours ago, antero said:

a very nice case, indeed!

Thank you! It had better be, since it made a record auction price (paid by me unfortunately)! Here's a view of the outside. That end handle is so precisely made it looks painted. 

16Y104828.jpg

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4 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

I put 1880s/1890s because there is some uncertainty in my mind about when Hills left Wardour Street, and I strongly suspect that they kept a workshop there for some years after they moved to New Bond Street. Things are not at all clear during this period. 

It could very well be that they did, especially since a case-making workshop takes up a lot of space. Trouble is, it is so difficult to find reliable information.

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On 12/24/2019 at 6:33 AM, Dimitri Musafia said:

It could very well be that they did, especially since a case-making workshop takes up a lot of space. Trouble is, it is so difficult to find reliable information.

and likewise, understanding the incredible number of makers and dealers connected to Wardour Street and how they worked amongst each other is equally difficult to get an idea of... :)

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Here are some pics of my fiddle my daughter took from her   iphone. Still trying to find Hart & Son stock list 

 

IMG_0841.jpg

IMG_0844.jpg

IMG_0851.jpg

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