Ref :   0664

A French violin by the firm of
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy (JTL)
Mirecourt, circa 1910

This violin is very well-toned and in impeccable condition, after some 100 years. It's most striking feature is the attractive one-piece back of really beautiful maple - signature to the top range of the JTL firm's output. It bears an undated generic label: "JTL, Geronimo Barnabetti". JTL instruments bearing this label were of their top range and were always noted for their good tone and physical appeal - really nice workmanship and good choice of materials. This is one of the finest JTL violins I have seen.

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 directorship. 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 (as this violin probably is) 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 privileged 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.

Apart from the generic label inside, this violin also has the standard small JTL label to the side, indicating that the violin is of the 'Virtuoso' series - a model for advanced to entry level professional use. I'd guess that dates from around 1910.

This violin is as good as you get with JTL. Apart from the beautiful one-piece back of excellent well-flamed maple with a straight medium distinct curl, the sides are also nicely flamed 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 dark wine-red varnish that only the French really ever get right and which is a characteristic of the majority of the JTL instruments.

After some 100 years, this violin has matured well. It would be a worthy acquisition for an ambitious and deserving violinist.


Dimensions :
  Back length: 36 cm

Condition :
  Impeccable. No repairs or cracks. A few minor scratches to the top has no structural impact and adds to the overall character of a very attractive instrument.

Provenance :

Price : Withheld


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