Since the early 1970’s we have made many instruments for amateur and professional players both here and abroad, specializing largely in the field of Early Music. These include rebecs and medieval fiddles for the Consort of Musike, Renaissance viols after Linarol and Ebert , Renaissance violins and violas for players in the Academy of Ancient Music and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, a violone in use with the Petite Bande and numerous viols. These have included copies of the whole viol family from Pardessus de Viole after Nicholas Bertrand, the full range of Consort Viols including treble viols after Hoskins, Tenor, Lyra, Bass and Division Viols after Jaye, Rose, Norman, Pitts and Meares, German Bass viols after Gregorius Karp, and 7 string French Bass Viols after Colichon and Bertrand. We have made the full range of violins, violas and cello’s to Baroque and Modern specifications.
Special commissions have included three Lyra Viols with sympathetic strings, which played in consort sound like a whole orchestra, a Maggini copy violin that within 20 minutes of delivery was being played on stage at the Globe Theatre, a Viola d’Amore after Guidantus of Bologna, and a 5 sting Violoncello Piccolo based on one by Baker of Oxford.
In recent years a set of eight instruments was ordered for Baroque students at the University of Bristol, and two violins, one with 7 and one with 8 sympathetic strings running under the finger boards (like a violin d’amore) and with a shikari bridge like a sitar have been made for a student of Indian classical raga. We have also made an Arpeggione, a “Bowed Guitar” with six playing strings and metal frets and a copy of a very early German Viola d’Amore that was in the workshop for restoration. This was made of ebony with a carved head of a negress (a play on the word Moor) and had twisted silver inlaid into it as purfling, and an ivory carved “rose” in the form of two lovers (Amore).
Instrument making requires time and a large degree of concentration, which is not easily available in a busy shop. Pressures from our customers for repairs and restoration, instrument sales and servicing, and the general activities of a shop which supplies the full range of strings and accessories, in addition to dispencing our decades of experience on everything from sound to shoulder rests, mean that there is less time for further making.