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Hopf: a dynasty of Vogtland violin makers

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. Hopf's model 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.


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 instruments 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 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.


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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.


>>> Next chapter:Other families of Klingenthal violin makers



Related articles in our information archive:


Klingenthal - the origins of violin making

Markneukirchen: violin making in “German Cremona”

Noteworthy families of Markneukirchen violin makers

Selected violins and master violins of Klingenthal and other regions online.


©Corilon violins

New arrivals in our catalogue:
  • Antique ornate violin with a lion´s head
  • 3/4 - sized violin by Leopold Mitsching, a rarity
  • 1/2 - charming red French Mansuy violin
  • H. Emile Blondelet, French violin, 1923
  • Brilliant violin from Saxony, for young soloists
  • Excellent Markneukirchen violin bow
  • German Violin, Stradivarius copy, by Meinel & Herold
  • Fine French violin, model "Andreas Borelli"
  • Antique violin, 1920's, Markneukirchen
  • Johann Gottfried Hamm, master violin from the Vogtland region, c. 1780
  • Old German violin after J.B. Schweitzer
  • German violin after Guarneri, approx. 1880
  • German violin from Markneukirchen, Hermann Dölling jun.
  • Student violin by Meinel & Herold, Klingenthal
  • Petite Italian violin, late 18th century
  • 3/4 - French violin by H. Blaise
  • Saxon violin after J. Stainer, exceptionally attractive
  • 3/4 - French 3/4 violin of sound
  • Justin Maucotel: A splendid French violin
  • Old English violin, C.S. Thirlby, 1907
  • Fine Italian violin, Giovanni Schwarz, Venice (certificate Eric Blot)
  • Baroque viola c1800, from Mittenwald in outstanding original condition
  • Master violin from southern Germany, circa 1820
  • 19th century: English violin full of character