This violin was made in London by Joseph Hill, the first recorded violin maker of the famous Hill dynasty. Joseph was the great-grandfather of William Ebsworth Hill, who started the firm W. E. Hill and Sons. As far as we know, Joseph Hill was an honest and hard working violin maker, unlike his youngest son, Lockey Hill who was hanged for stealing horses! Lockey Hill also made violins in between bouts of grand theft equine.
Dating this violin is a little tricky; it bears an Amati label, which was put there by the maker himself; the identical label is seen in other instruments by Joseph Hill. Although this label leaves us with no date, the varnish is so similar to that of Richard Duke that we can tentatively say the violin was made around 1755. At this time Duke and Hill lived practically next door to each other near High Holborn.
The condition of this violin is excellent. There are only a couple of cracks on the front (repaired of course), and nothing else to report! The neck is original but has been re-set to facilitate modern playing. You can see a mark from the original nail in the pictures below.