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“The finest approach to handling wood”: Hieronymus Köstler

Notes on Hieronymus Köstler, expert for old stringed instruments, restorer and luthier, in Stuttgart, Germany

One of the top addresses in the world of historic instruments is the Stuttgart atelier of Hieronymus Köstler, where valuable violin-making masterpieces have been restored, appraised and traded since 1982. Below is a brief portrait of the Stuttgart expert for historic stringed instruments.

At the tender age of 16, Hieronymus Köstler left his home town of Munich to study at the highly acclaimed Violin-Making School of Mittenwald and to learn, as he put it, “no doubt the finest approach to handling wood.” After completing his training as the youngest of his class, he took up his trade and diligiently applied himself to becoming a master in restoring historic stringed instruments. Two years later he had become a journeyman under Max Möller in Amsterdam, and following that he took the plunge and went to London, one of the foremost cities for trading historic instruments. There he spent four years at the famous atelier of J. & A. Beare Ltd.

Upon returning to Stuttgart, Hieronymus Köstler found the ideal environment for opening his own business. A mere four years after his studio was founded, there were ten journeymen in his employ, and he made his way into the small and exclusive circle of internationally renowned experts in restoring and appraising older stringed instruments. Köstler's appraisals enjoy the utmost confidence among musicians, collectors, merchants and investors around the world.

It is obvious that violin expert Hieronymus Köstler's work as an appraiser is enhanced by the specialist knowledge and practical experience he gained as a violin maker and restorer. But the inverse is true as well: his finely-honed sensitivity as an expert informs the hands-on work he does on instruments. One of his guiding principles is not to allow the original to be altered by the restoration. If original wood is present, none of it should be removed: this means that any corrective procedure can be reversed if it turns out not to be ideal. Such strict and carefully considered standards have not only benefited the valuable historic instruments that are restored in Hieronymus Köstler's atelier – they also serve the many journeymen well who perfect their craft there.

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Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy - JTL

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:
  • Classical violin from Saxony, approx. 1900
  • Violin from Saxony, Da Salo model
  • 3/4 - exceptional, strong sounding French 3/4 violin
  • Raffaello Bozzi, 1939: Italian violin (with a certificate from Cesare Magrini)
  • Powerful English violin by John K. Empsal 1909
  • Leo Aschauer, Mittenwald: excellent violin, 1963
  • French violin with a beautiful sound, approx. 1895
  • 1/4 - sized French J.T.L. violin, approx. 1900
  • 3/4 - outstanding Mittenwald 3/4 violin, circa 1870
  • Antique German violin after Stradivari
  • Good German-Czech viola, approx. 1900
  • 1/2 - approx. 100 years old, 1/2 violin from Klingenthal
  • Strong, active violin bow, Germany c1950
  • Silver-mounted violin bow, Markneukirchen
  • Good Markneukirchen violin bow approx. 1950
  • Markneukirchen master violin by August Hermann Braun
  • Outstanding Italian viola, Carlo Giudicci 1945
  • Quality violin from Saxony, late 19th century
  • German-Bohemian violin, patterend after Aegidius Klotz, approx. 1900
  • 3/4 - French 3/4 violin, J.T.L. "Grandini"
  • Good antique Czech/Bohemian violin
  • A good German violin bow, new
  • H. Derazey, late 19th century French violin
  • English violin bow, silver mounted, stamped Richardson