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


corilon violins

Mirecourt: the spacious home of French violin making


Mirecourt: information about French violins and the history of French violin making


The picturesque banks of the river Madon in Lorraine lead to the source of French violin making, and like all good stories, the trail of this tale also leads into legend. No one challenges the claim that Mirecourt was the birthplace of famous French violin and bow makers, although it is more than dubious as to whether it was first established by legendary old master Tywersus in the early 16th century. Unlike the Vogtland region in Saxony, the early history of Mirecourt violins is lost to obscurity. As often happens, the dates attributed to a tradition are intended to express its significance and scope, and it is certainly true that the town is seen as the capital city of French violin making. For many, the name is synonymous with the craft.

mirecourt

Mirecourt: French centre of violin making


From 1732 on, Mirecourt craftsmen followed the strict rules of their guild to uphold their high standards, and apprentices trained there were in demand far beyond the confines of the town. They frequently went on to found their own studios in other cities, especially Paris. Sometimes they later returned to Mirecourt after several years of success elsewhere. As a result the local art of making violins had a strong effect on the outside world, whilst at the same time incorporating other influences. Its style was inspired by highly sought-after Italian masters (initially the Brescia school, later the Cremonese); important technical insights were adapted from German violin making.


The great French families of violin makers who hail from Mirecourt include Vuillaume, Chanot, Voirin, Bazin and Collin, as well as Nicolas Lupot , the “French Stradivarius.” The low number of falsified violin labels found in French violins from Mirecourt may be an indication of people's pride about the great artisanal tradition: Paris was often cited as the city of origin, but false Italian names were not given, as was common practice elsewhere. The main difficulty in confirming Mirecourt provenance is linked to fact that the insignias of the studios' founders were often used by their successors. This was not a matter of taking credit for others' work, but rather a proud way for young masters to honour tradition.

Didier Nicolas (1757-1833) was considered the first to manufacture French violins serially in Mirecourt; to this day, making instruments is still a major industry in the town. The École Nationale de Lutherie has made it the most important venue in France for training violin makers. The local museum is a worthwhile venue for learning more about the history of building violins and bows.



Related articles:

On the history of industrial factories in Mirecourt

J.T.L. - Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy

The Laberte family companies

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

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

Charles Nicolas Bazin: the great name of Mirecourt bow making

Bazin's grandchildren: bow making in turbulent times

Mirecourt's new masters: contemporary violin makers in Mirecourt

J.B. Vuillaume

Nicolas Lupot - the second great name in French violin making

Concours Etienne Vatelot -- the important French violin making contest

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Mario Gadda, Italian violin suitable for soloists, 1995 - warm, radiant tone
  • 3/4 - German 3/4 master violin, A. Fritsch, 1950
  • Antique French Mirecourt violin, approx. 1920 - warm, somewhat mellow tone
  • Modern Italian violin, Piero Virdis, Pattada 2002 (certificate Piero Virdis)
  • 3/4 - warm and resonant sounding French 3/4 violin
  • Franco Abanelli, Italian violin - Bologna, 1997
  • Cremonese master violin, Piergiuseppe Esposti, 1998 (certificate Piergiuseppe Esposti)
  • Outstanding Czech Violin by Mathias Heinicke, student of Eugeni Degani in Venice, 1911
  • From the estate of Prof. Günter Szkokan: Fine viola by Ferdinand Kugler, Vienna, 1973
  • From the estate of Prof. Günter Szkokan: Edwin Lothar Herrmann, silver mounted German viola bow
  • Lothar Seifert, strong silver mounted viola bow, c.1980
  • Lightweight violin bow by Otto Dürrschmidt, silver mounted
  • F. C. Pfretzschner, powerful, active violin bow - silver
  • German Violin by Ludwig Gläsel jr., Markneukirchen
  • Recommendable Italian violin, 1970's, probably Giudici - warm, golden sound
  • Old German violin, c.1900, with a warm, large sound
  • Outstanding German violin, Saxony approx. 1910
  • Ernst Heinrich Roth, Markneukirchen, fine 1922 violin - Guarnerius model
  • Powerful Mittenwald violin from the Mittenwald violin-making school, 1960's
  • Interesting Southern Italian violin, early 20th century
  • Italian violin, Primo Contavalli, 1973 (certificate Benjamin Schröder)
  • Contemporary Italian master violin by Nicola Vendrame, Venice
  • Mario Gadda, Italian violin after Stefano Scarampella
  • WORKED OVER/ NEW SOUND SAMPLE: 3/4 - violin, elegant French "Copie de Stradivari"