Ref :   0644

A French violin by the firm of
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy ('JTL')
Mirecourt, France. Circa 1890

During the early 19th century, the family of Thibouville-Lamy established a large studio in Mirecourt, and for many years they set the French standard for high-quality trade instruments. Known as Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy Pty Ltd, the company was commonly referred to as "JTL". Many important French violinmakers at some point either worked for this company, or served on its dirctorship. In 1908 they were joined by Hugues-Emile Blondelet, initiating their zenith period between the years of 1908 and 1928, the year of Blondelet's death. Instruments from that era are greatly respected, not only for the excellent materials used in their production, but also for the fine workmanship displayed in the majority of their output.

In 1880 JTL's annual production was 800 violins, 400 violas and 50 cellos, produced in three distinct grades, which were affordable alternatives to expensive fine violins, and which brought good violins into the hands of many excellent but less priviledged young musicians. The JTL firm was still operating in 1930, maintaining its same high standards. Their productions were always good - well-made solid instruments of excellent materials and with good tone. I have not yet seen a JTL instrument that was not appealing to the eye - the backs usually are very attractive and the varnish pleasing.

This violin is branded 'Nicolas Duchêne à la Ville de Padoue' on the inside of the back (see photo). That was one of the brand names registered for use by JTL. It also bears the JTL label which indicates that the violin is of the 'Virtuoso' series - a model for advanced to entry level professional use. It dates from around 1890.

This instrument has three striking features - firstly and most importantly, it has really excellent tone and response throughout the register which allows one to take on virtually any work, from chamber pieces to concertos - it really satisfies. This is as good as you get with JTL. Secondly, it has a truly beautiful one-piece back of excellent well-flamed maple with a straight medium distinct curl. The sides are nicely flamed too and the top of good tone spruce. This is in keeping with the use of good materials that is a hallmark of JTL. Lastly, the violin has an exquisite red varnish that only the French really ever get right and which is a characteristic of the majority of the JTL instruments.

After some 120 years, this violin has matured well. It would be a worthy acquisition for an ambitious and deserving violinist - and is excellent value for money.


Dimensions :
  36.0 cm

Condition Report :
  Structurally in excellent condition. Neck angle is perfect. The left wingcrack has been glued and is solid. No other repairs or cracks can be discerned. Varnish original. New ebony pegs were recently fitted and the fingerboard was plained to remove pitting.

Provenance :
  Private family ownership for many years. Now owned by myself (Johan Grobbelaar).

Price : Withheld


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