Ref :   0840

A very good English violin by
Emanuel Whitmarsh
(c. 1840 - c. 1925)
London, 1905

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Emanuel Whitmarsh's instruments are much desired and actively sought after by professional musicians everywhere, not only because of their superb workmanship, but notably for their tone, which has variously been described as strong, clear, focussed and extremely well-balanced over the full register. Those who own a Whitmarsh will simply not part with them and have very high appreciation for their instruments' tonal properties.

During 2013 I acquired two Whitmarsh violins in quick succession (from different sources), variously from 1912 and this one from 1905. The 1912 instrument - superbly toned - was sold almost immediately. This 1905 violin required some minor restorative work which was completed only a few days ago. After setup, I was completely taken aback by its powerful and focussed tone and easy response. This violin in every sense underlines this maker's reputation for mastery over tonal properties and making violins for demanding violinists. It will be really difficult to sell because it is very difficult to part with such excellent tone and walk away from it!

This violin was discovered in a state of neglect. Following restorative work by Italy-trained Albertus Bekker, it is today in virtually mint condition - an exceptional example of Emanuel Whitmarsh's work later in his life.

Whitmarsh's dates of birth and death are not noted in any reliable source, but since he was already working in London in 1856 , it is thought that he was probably born around 1840. He established his studio in Kentish Town Road in 1885 and later moved to Dalston (London) in 1908. He was awarded a medal at the Inventions Exhibition in London in 1885. It is known that he was still active at the end of the First World War in 1918, and would then have been around 78 years old.

This maker consistently labelled his instruments with a simple hand-written label, making them easy to identify positively through the handwriting. Furthermore, he was consistent in his instrument design through most of his life and his violins have somewhat of a characteristic appearance, particularly in the f-hole shape, somewhat long and slanting outward to the bottom curve, yet elegant and balanced. This violin is dated 1905, in London, and specifies the word 'Senior', since his son was also making violins.

This instrument has a two-piece back of superb maple, mildly flamed with a straight even medium curl. The ribs are more flamed and the neck and scroll appear to be of the same material. The top is of a piece of excellent tone spruce with medium to fine growth lines. Purfling and cornerwork show an experienced and steady hand - tidy work.

The varnish is certainly oil-based - reddish brown with a high degree of transparency, allowing good interaction of the light and the wood. This is the work of a master working only with essentials and shunning cheap visual embellishment.

As with all violins by this maker, this is a very well-toned instrument, balanced, clean and focussed sound, highly responsive and easy to play and in which everything works just right.

By and large this instrument is in mint condition.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 35.7 cm

Condition :
  Impeccable condition. No cracks anywhere.

Provenance :
  Discovered in a state of neglect. Provenance unknown.

Price : On application


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