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Edward Heron-Allen & violin making

Will Fly 19 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM
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Subject: Edward Heron-Allen & violin making
From: Will Fly
Date: 19 Jan 09 - 06:25 AM

Many years I remember reading Edward Heron-Allen's Violin Making As It Was and Is, which was a fascinating book - even for one as technically challenged in the instrument-making field as me. The book was published in 1884 and, I believe, is still in print.

I was reminded of the influence of this publication recently, when I acquired a violin made in London in the mid-1920s by one Frank Penny. The instrument needed some gluing at the base seams, plus some other work to get it into playable condition. A very knowledgeable violin man in Hove did the job for me and, when he was initially looking at it, remarked, "Ah - another typical production by an amateur maker under the influence of Heron-Allen". Such was the influence of his book, apparently, that many, many amateur instrument-makers and woodworkers were disposed to have a crack at making a violin.

As it turned out, my "amateur" instrument wasn't at all bad and worth every penny of the £200 I paid for it, plus £50 for the repairs. Anyone else have an instrument from this kind of stable?

Heron-Allen, by the way, was a man of wide-ranging interests - a real polymath.

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