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Help with violin ID

Terry Maurice

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I have not posted here in many years, but on Jacob van Soelen's suggestion, I am looking for some insights on an older violin that has come into my shop.  


The violin has a back length of 356 mm, a neck length of 131 mm, a stop length of 192 mm.  It appears to be corner blocked, but I have not taken the top off yet, as the back is loose at the button and I want to secure that first.  The neck is attached on the outside to the ribs with a metal screw from the inside through the block.  The neck angle is more perpendicular than a modern violin.  The neck set is low, even when the button and neck root are mated.  There is a small wedge under the fingerboard but this is not enough to raise it to the proper elevation.  I suspect that if the violin is of an age when the necks were fitted in this way, there might have been a more baroque style of fingerboard that would have produced the proper elevation.  


There is a handwritten label in old gall black ink inside stating "This violin was made by FD?? Wilson in 1717.  There has been several repairs to the center seams, top and back, not very well done with varnish removal.  The back is pinned with two ebony pins at the button and the lower block.  


I have attached several photographs.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Terry Mauricepost-3654-0-13432600-1434145884_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-79062600-1434145898_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-74290500-1434145918_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-64679900-1434145929_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-42577400-1434145944_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-31894200-1434145993_thumb.jpgpost-3654-0-76457000-1434146059_thumb.jpg


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I certainly wouldn't dismiss it as an 18th century British violin, maybe not as early as 1717, more fitting with later in that century.


Whilst not being totally typical of London work, I think it might be from there

I don't know about Wilson, and haven't looked if he is recorded as a maker, maybe Ben would know.

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Thanks for the response to my query.  I have not been able to find any information on the maker.  I have since opened the violin and it is signed on the top.  The writing on the underside of the top is in pencil and is signed R D  Wilson.   A later repair person, affixed his printed label, which reads Repaired by John Smith 617 Furby St. Winnipeg, Late of Glasgow & Falkirk, Scotland,  Smith dated his repair on his label in handwriting "Resotred 3-29-1917.  Smith also wrote inside that he found the signature of Wilson on the underside of the top when he opened it for repair in 1917.



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Author: John Dilworth

WILSON, Richard Worked circa. 1800 Edinburgh, Scotland UK. Flat-arched Stradivari model. Decent work with yellow-orange varnish. Style of Hardie; possibly a pupil. Name branded on back button. [Hill Archive]



From Amati.

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