John Dilworth

John Dilworth started his career in violinmaking as an apprentice to the Breton harp-maker Gildas Jaffrenou, before pursuing a more formal education at Newark Violin Making School, then under the direction of its founder and director Maurice Bouette. 

 

After graduating from the school in 1979, he began working at J&A Beare in London, where he stayed for thirteen years. Under Charles Beare's supervision, he perfected his art of restoration, adjustment and instrument recognition, happily surrounded by some of the profession's best craftspeople and experts, not to mention the greatest instruments imaginable. 

 

In 1991, he established his own workshop in Twickenham. In 1994, he worked closely with Peter Biddulph in the staging of the Exhibition 'The masterpieces of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù' at the Metropolitan Museum, New York. Over the last twenty years, he has lectured at many international violin conferences and has been invited to act as a craftsmanship judge at violin making competitions in England, America, and Poland. He has taught both violin making and restoration at workshops in West Dean in the U.K., and in Oberlin, Ohio. 

 

He regularly consults with Ingles & Hayday, Bromptons, and Amati, and has been the technical editor of 'The Strad' magazine for many years, with the aim of spreading the information about the violin and its makers. This has led to several publications on the violin, its history, and the famous makers.

Selected Works

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An Introduction to the Old Italian Violins

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“An Introduction to the Old Italian Violins” offers the most thorough and richly illustrated overview of the Italian violin-making school ever produced. It features 180 makers and 600 photographs. It is also the first publication by the famous London dealership J & A Beare, which was from the outset created exclusively for the Chinese audience.

 

Starting in Cremona with Andrea Amati, widely acknowledged as the father of violin making, the reader is introduced to the work of other great masters such Nicolò Amati, Antonio Stradivari, Giuseppe Guarneri “del Gesù” and Carlo Bergonzi, who have set the golden standards for stringed instruments. Following their example, the book explores how the craft spread across other Italian cities, and throughout Europe. Each violin-school is presented within the political and cultural context of its time. The numerous biographies of the makers reveal the close links that existed between musicians, composers, master-luthiers and their apprentices.

 

The violin, with its distinctive shape and voice, has become deeply rooted in almost all cultures of the world. However, the origins of its underlying geometry drawn from the scientific and progressive thinking that shook western Europe during the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries. In the third part, the book explores the rationale of its construction and evolution.

 

Based on 125-year-old archives of J & A Beare, the prominent violin experts of London, and edited by John Dilworth, the book also provides valuable insights into the current violin market and advises on the care of the instruments.

 

We hope that this book will prove itself useful to Chinese players and violin-makers, and give them as much pleasure as we took making it.

 

Mandarin speaking readers can order the book on our WeChat platform.

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Antonio Stradivari

 The Complete Works

Coming soon!

Antonio Stradivari is the most celebrated violin-maker of all time. His name is not only associated with the best violins but has become, over the past 300 years, the epitome of excellence in craft. 

 

Antonio Stradivari (1644 - 1737) lived an outstandingly long and productive life. From early adolescence, until his 93rd year, he toiled behind his workbench crafting alone or assisted by his sons, some of the most beautiful string instruments ever made. Violin after violin, he experimented tirelessly with the shape, the varnish, and the materials, always in search of the perfect sound, most powerful tone, or the perfect golden varnish. 

 

"The work that one does is a way of keeping a "diary" Pablo Picasso once said - Stradivari would have certainly agreed. Stradivari's life might be shrouded in mystery, but his work speaks of a keen and demanding spirit, which ever since is resonating within every generation of players and violin-makers.

 

Antonio Stradivari: The Complete Works, is an attempt at identifying and cataloging all the instruments made by the master luthier and his sons, Francesco and Omobono. It builds on the remarkable works of research published by violin connoisseurs such as Herbert Goodkind and Ernest Doring, the archives (published and unpublished) of the world’s most renowned dealers such as John Betts, W.E. Hill & Sons, Rembert Wurlitzer, Jacques Français and J & A Beare to name just a few; as well as scholarly studies on violinmaking across the centuries. 

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