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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.


Couesnon: The third defining element in modern violin making in Mirecourt


On the history of the Couesnon company – Part 3 of our series on industrial production of stringed instruments in France

The golden age of industrial musical instrument production in Mirecourt, which started in the final quarter of the 19th century and lasted until the 1930s, created opportunities not only for J.T.L. and Laberte-Magnié. It also gave rise to another (inter)national company which was significant both in terms of its numbers as well as the quality of its products. In 1885 the Paris-based company Gautrot Ainé & Cie, which had forty years of experience in manufacturing woodwinds and brass instruments, began production of stringed instruments as well. It followed in Thibouville's footsteps, albeit at a much later date.

As had been the case at J.T.L., a former employee and student of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume was involved in this business expansion. Maurice Mermillot was made the head of the factory for stringed instruments. The new company always maintained production sites in Paris and Mirecourt, and their manufacturing more or less ran along parallel lines to its major competitors — a constellation which led to many interesting shifts as employees transferred between factories. Some talented luthiers went from one rivalling company to another in a veritable game of musical chairs. Under Amédée Couesnon, who led Gautrot starting in 1887 and eventually gave the company its new name, Georges Cherpitel was wooed away from Thibouville-Lamy in 1901. Like Laberte, Couesnon also saw the growing need for premium stringed instruments, and in 1913 he secured the necessary technical expertise by merging with the highly esteemed atelier of Léon Bernardel. One can see how competitive the environment was by the fact that another top-ranking employee switched — Eugène Vincent Génod, who worked with Laberte for many years until he joined Couesnon in 1927.


Related articles:

On the history of industrial factories in Mirecourt

The end of the great instrument-making companies in Mirecourt

Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy - J.T.L.

The Laberte family companies

Bazin: the great name of Mirecourt bow making

Chanot: Savoir-faire - The Chanot family of luthiers

Morizot, père et frère: the short history of a great family of bow makers

Mirecourt's new masters: contemporary violin makers in Mirecourt

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Antique Saxon master violin - 19th century, c.1870
  • 19th century Mittenwald violin. Neuner & Hornsteiner, approx. 1860
  • Raffaello Bozzi at Antonio Monzino: Italian violin, 1940's
  • Italian violin, Romedio Muncher, Cremona 1929
  • American violin by W. Wilkanowski, Brooklyn, 1938
  • H. Derazey: Fine French violin from the workshop of Jean-Joseph Honoré Derazey
  • Saxonian violin by master luthier Max Heiling
  • Old Markneukirchen violin from Schuster & Co., 1942
  • Antique Markneukirchen violin, probably Schuster & Co.
  • Antique Violin from Saxony, approx. 1870
  • Antique Markneukirchen violin of quality, c.1890
  • Markneukirchen master violin, 1940's
  • German student violin after Stradivari, from Bubenreuth
  • Giorgio Grisales: Modern Italian violin, Cremona (certificate Giorgio Grisales)
  • Northern German violin by Richard Berger, Stralsund
  • German violin from Mittenwald, 1970'ies
  • Contemporary master violin by Marc de Sterke
  • Interesting German post-war violin, Hopf workshop, Taunusstein-Wehen
  • Contemporary Italian violin by Giovanni Lazzaro, Padua 1990
  • Fine Mittenwald master violin, c.1740, Sebastian Klotz circle
  • Antique Czech master violin. A fine copy of Johann Georg Thir, c.1900
  • Antique French 3/4 violin. Probably J.T. L.
  • François Fent, a fine historic French viola of the late 18th century (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Marcello Martinenghi, 1949: Fine Italian viola (certificate Eric Blot)