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corilon violins

Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers


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Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 • Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620

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  • Hopf and the Hopf violin: History of a violin maker dynasty in the Vogtland region, Saxony

    Caspar Hopf, one of the founding fathers of early violin making in Klingenthal and a key influence on its art, is thought to have been born in the spring of 1650 in Graslitz (Kraslice in Czech language). The son of an immigrant family, he was the first known master violin maker in Klingenthal. The typical Hopf violin with its distinctive “squary” outline, a highly arched top with a very flat back, and the light, transparent varnish over a saffron-coloured ground defined the style among generations of his descendants and artisans in the Vogtland.

    Hopf violin of Markneukirchen, about 1800 - top

    Hopf, Klingenthal, early violin approx. 1800

    Maker: Unknown
    Length of back: 35.7 cm
    Year: approx. 1800
    Price: 5.000,00 €

    Violin from the Hopf ateliers, Klingenthal

    Hopf violin of Klingenthal, approx. 1850

    Provenance: Klingenthal
    Maker: Hopf
    Length of back: 35.5 cm
    Year: approx. 1850
    Price: 3.000,00 €

    Researchers attribute a total of 42 violin makers to the Hopf dynasty, the genealogy of which can be traced back as far as eight generations. Its most famous member is David Hopf; his name graces master violins which remain highly sought after to this day. In most cases, however, it is not clear whether these high-quality and distinctly yellow- and gold-coloured Hopf violins were made by David Christian Hopf Sr. (1734-1803) or his son David Christian Hopf Jr. (1776-1830). Important and outstanding examples of Vogtland violins also include instruments from two masters who signed their works “David August Hopf” and were active in the late 18th / early 19th century.

    Tributes to the work of their ancestor can be clearly seen in all of the violinmakers of the family Hopf. Caspar Hopf died on 21 August 1711 in Stolberg in the Harz mountains while en route to the fair in Braunschweig. He did not live long enough to see the fruits of his labour: the founding of the Klingenthal guild in 1716, which was also a breakthrough for violin makers in his hometown. Caspar Hopf's son, Johann Michael Hopf, also worked diligently towards his father's cause until his early death in 1712. His widow, Anna Rosina Hopf, was accepted in the newly-established violin makers' guild four years later and was allowed to have two journeymen, just as a master would: this was a genuinely exceptional event and represented a special chapter in violin-making history. At the same time, it reflects the importance of the Hopf dynasty.

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    Corilon violins · Lilienstrasse 2 · D-81669 Munich
    Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 · Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620 ·

    New arrivals in our catalogue:
    • Fine violin bow, Nürnberger school
    • French violin by J.T.L., approx. 1910
    • English violin, Joseph Charles Fidler, Reading 1925
    • For Soloists: Raffaele Calace, Italian violin, 1916
    • Italian violin, Archimede Orlandini, Parma 1985 (published)
    • Central Italian violin by Aristide Benigni, Ascoli Piceno (published twice)
    • Fine Markneukirchen violin: copy of Santo Serafino / Sanctus Seraphin
    • Italian violin by Lodovico Giovannetti, 1955 (certificate Castelli)
    • Didier Nicolas (L‘Ainé), master violin, circa 1825
    • Mittenwald violin, Johann Reiter, 1922, opus 42
    • Claudio Gamberini, full-blooded Italian violin, 1930
    • Outstanding 1930's French violin from Mirecourt
    • François Fent, a fine historic viola of the late 18th century
    • French violin after F. A. Glass, Mirecourt
    • Edwin Lothar Herrmann, German violin bow
    • 3/4 –sized German violin by Boosey & Hawkes
    • Excellent violin from Machold’s custom violin workshop, Chemnitz
    • Antique French violin, Mirecourt
    • Silver mounted violin bow by Rudolf Neudörfer
    • Mario Bedochi, fine Italian viola (certificate by Eric Blot)
    • Giuseppe Lucci, fine Italian viola, Rome 1967
    • Old German Cello, Saxony, approx. 1900
    • French 3/4 -sized cello by J.T.L.
    • 3/4 Cello by Wilfried Leonhardt, Mittenwald