Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Hills shop records


Julian Cossmann Cooke
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is there a resource with the help of which one could determine what high-end violas passed through the Hills shop?  I am trying to identify possible models for a Craske I am copying.  Since he was an established copyist himself and had a close relationship with the shop, perhaps he used an instrument they had on hand as the model for the instrument I am copying.  If I can identify candidates, then I can see what information on them is available in the public realm.

I know, I know.  "Why?"  Indulge my obsessiveness, please.  Thanks in advance --- for the indulgence AND any leads.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are a few links I found that mention models he used...

I guess according to the Kerr article he made closer to 3,000 instruments, that's insane!

https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=141

http://www.kerrviolins.com/violin-link-craske-george-1880-10012046.html

This strad article is probably the one I got the 2,000 number from... but I guess that's just a hypothetical number. 

https://www.thestrad.com/from-the-archive-a-craske-viola-c1860/2364.article

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I remember reading (here on MN?) that instruments Craske sold to Hills during his lifetime were labelled just as Craske.  The instruments Hills acquired after Craske's death had a different label, something like Hills by Craske, especially if Hills got the instrument in an unfinished state.  Anything to this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The instrument for which I am trying to identify the model is a 16" viola labeled 1845.  The bout widths don't appear to conform to any Amati violas for which I have data.  del Gesu is out.  Other Guarneri family members I have yet to research.  Perhaps he reduced in size a Stradivari viola.  I haven't looked at the dimensions of those yet.  The search continues.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Julian, 

You will be on the wrong track if you look to the Hills for guidance on Craske was well and truly dead by the time they bought his instruments from Crompton, his friend, agent and heir, and there are various stories about how antisocial he was in later life, refusing to see customers even when they had trekked to his door. I must update this at some stage, but here is my old blog on him http://hebberts.com/george-craske and Andrew Dipper subsequently wrote a very good piece in the VSA about him as well. 

Although he clearly used the Canone, and the Loder as prototypes for violins, he doesn't seem to have done more than apply those soundholes to a predetermined flat design. However, I have seen some dastardly clever instruments by him, this one here http://hebberts.com/15043 was unquestionably Craske, but various features of Daniel Parker got even more apparent when comparing the two in hand together, to the point that it was - if not a copy - certainly heavily indebted to his observations of Parker's work. 

In violas he seems to have really excelled, although there are several which are just enlarged versions of his violins, with flattish arching. One I saw not that long ago and should have loved to take photos of actually looked a lot like a Mantegazza without me being able to pin a name on it. It was sufficiently Italianate that my head was looking around that kind of area, but not so Italianate that I didn't feel a bit stupid when the owner suggested that someone else had said it was a Craske - of course it was. 

In terms of his very high reputation for fakes, that was the closest I've got, unless of course he unwittingly followed a Parker in the one discussed earlier thinking it to be a more important Italian  instrument. If he was a faker or copyist, these are just a few of his instruments, and it appears that he would have copied minor 18th century Italian instruments that were obscure enough to cause confusion - not to fake a Mantegazza as such, but to fake a "fine old Italian violin" which in a world where connoisseurship and prices was something different, is actually what people were aiming for more, with simply the reassurance that their "Capital Cremona" was made by a "genuine maker" (their words, not mine). 

In Craske's work I continue to find elements that are of the level of near-genius - unfortunately its a different one each time, and unfortunately too, only one such element in a violin comprising of dozens of elements, but each seems to hint at a capability to be a much greater maker. As we know more, there really may be extraordinary Craskes out there. Certainly the one illustrated in Lithograph in the Hill brochure is a full-arched Stradivari copy - kind of a Vuillaume copy of the Messiah with fatter more generous arching. It's totally uncharacteristic of anything I would recognise of Craske, but there it is!

We often see part-made Craskes finished or improved by the Hills - they seem to have re-tabled most of the cellos I have seen. Very straight and honest work often is the kind we attribute to Langonet.  August deLunet's work can be seen in the making of antiqued parts. You can see an example that he made here as his own work http://hebberts.com/15051, you can often see his hand within Craskes, and you also frequently see his hand in replaced elements in other instruments sold by the Hills. So sometimes you see Craskes which show a far more versatile hand with more experience of London practices of faking and imitation than Craske himself may have been capable of in his hermit-like existence, 

Your project sounds a lot of fun. I'd love to see photos of the Craske you are copying - it must be quite an amazing one to have you this inspired! 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ben, i think a bit of research needs done on Delunet , i brought it up in 2006 , when checking census records. i since found out the Isidore Delunet was the father of a Leon August Emile Delunet .

https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/314537-delunet/&tab=comments#comment-351115

There may be more than one August Delunet as well such as a August E Delunet who was born in 1881 and worked in new York and Toronto as a violin maker.

Also the question of Charles L. Delunet , a violin maker  ,probably Augusts? brother and was resident in Hanwell in 1901 and born in 1865.

 

august e delunet.JPG

leon august marriage  father isidore Delunet.JPG

charles L.JPG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fiddlecollector, have I just rumbled who YOU are? I was speaking to someone from North of Milton Keynes not awfully long ago. 

For the sake of argument, we are talking about him simply in his capacity as working for Hills, and instruments that passed over his bench at Hills from the 1890s to the early 20th century. As for the move to North America, it seems that all sources are utterly confused between Leon-Auguste Delunet, and Auguste Delivet, which is understandable as they seem to have even known each other as you have shown. I had a look at some of this myself, some time ago as I was assisting in the history of a group of a collection of instruments that reached Toronto from Hills through the agency of one or other of them. It was enough to realise what a spaghetti it was, and to realise that there are better people in the world to untangle such mysteries. Here is Joelle Morton's article below... 

But this is tangential to the equally curious problems of who was making what and how in the Hill workshop. 

 

 vol45-2009-10.pdf

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Ben Hebbert said:

Julian, 

You will be on the wrong track if you look to the Hills for guidance on Craske was well and truly dead by the time they bought his instruments from Crompton, his friend, agent and heir, and there are various stories about how antisocial he was in later life, refusing to see customers even when they had trekked to his door. I must update this at some stage, but here is my old blog on him http://hebberts.com/george-craske and Andrew Dipper subsequently wrote a very good piece in the VSA about him as well. 

Although he clearly used the Canone, and the Loder as prototypes for violins, he doesn't seem to have done more than apply those soundholes to a predetermined flat design. However, I have seen some dastardly clever instruments by him, this one here http://hebberts.com/15043 was unquestionably Craske, but various features of Daniel Parker got even more apparent when comparing the two in hand together, to the point that it was - if not a copy - certainly heavily indebted to his observations of Parker's work. 

In violas he seems to have really excelled, although there are several which are just enlarged versions of his violins, with flattish arching. One I saw not that long ago and should have loved to take photos of actually looked a lot like a Mantegazza without me being able to pin a name on it. It was sufficiently Italianate that my head was looking around that kind of area, but not so Italianate that I didn't feel a bit stupid when the owner suggested that someone else had said it was a Craske - of course it was. 

In terms of his very high reputation for fakes, that was the closest I've got, unless of course he unwittingly followed a Parker in the one discussed earlier thinking it to be a more important Italian  instrument. If he was a faker or copyist, these are just a few of his instruments, and it appears that he would have copied minor 18th century Italian instruments that were obscure enough to cause confusion - not to fake a Mantegazza as such, but to fake a "fine old Italian violin" which in a world where connoisseurship and prices was something different, is actually what people were aiming for more, with simply the reassurance that their "Capital Cremona" was made by a "genuine maker" (their words, not mine). 

In Craske's work I continue to find elements that are of the level of near-genius - unfortunately its a different one each time, and unfortunately too, only one such element in a violin comprising of dozens of elements, but each seems to hint at a capability to be a much greater maker. As we know more, there really may be extraordinary Craskes out there. Certainly the one illustrated in Lithograph in the Hill brochure is a full-arched Stradivari copy - kind of a Vuillaume copy of the Messiah with fatter more generous arching. It's totally uncharacteristic of anything I would recognise of Craske, but there it is!

We often see part-made Craskes finished or improved by the Hills - they seem to have re-tabled most of the cellos I have seen. Very straight and honest work often is the kind we attribute to Langonet.  August deLunet's work can be seen in the making of antiqued parts. You can see an example that he made here as his own work http://hebberts.com/15051, you can often see his hand within Craskes, and you also frequently see his hand in replaced elements in other instruments sold by the Hills. So sometimes you see Craskes which show a far more versatile hand with more experience of London practices of faking and imitation than Craske himself may have been capable of in his hermit-like existence, 

Your project sounds a lot of fun. I'd love to see photos of the Craske you are copying - it must be quite an amazing one to have you this inspired! 

 

Thank you for the extensive and informative post, Ben.  I appreciate your taking the time and effort.

I think I have pretty much decided this line of inquiry is a dead end for my purposes and have copied the outline using a method suggested to me by an established maker in New England.  Once I have finalized the outline, I'll post a picture here.  

As for inspiration, I am motivated more by the opportunity to learn some of the techniques involved in copying when one has the instrument in hand as opposed to working strictly from photographs/posters.  And then there is the commercial inducement -- a bird half in-hand being worth at least one-and-a-half birds on consignment somewhere.  It's a full risk commission but between the above considerations, well-worth the risk for someone with a somewhat anachronistic approach to learning for being so early in my career as a maker.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Julian, 

It's clear the Craske viola really works, after all, well enough that someone is willing to throw money into commissioning a copy! A project like this is likely to be an amazing opportunity for you to look outside Cremona and refresh your understanding of the big picture. I wish more makers would have the confidence to do that occasionally as it helps to develop a broader perspective, and arguably a better appreciation for the instruments that really work - whatever they are. 

Wishing you exquisite enjoyment from the challenge! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...