Viola by G.A. Chanot, Manchester, 1897

This viola has now sold.

Viola by G.A. Chanot, Manchester, 1897

About Georges Adolphe Chanot

Georges Adolphe Chanot was born into a family of violin makers in 1855. Although the family was based in London, it was his younger brother Frederick who took over the firm in that city, with Georges moving to Manchester to expand the family name in the north of England.

The move to Manchester marks a sea-change in Chanot´s output: his earlier instruments show the influence of his father and tend to be standard Stradivari and del Gesù models, whereas the Manchester instruments are based on a much broader range of models. These instruments were often bench copies of specific instruments, with Amati being a particularly favoured maker. Chanot is considered to be one of the best English makers of the early 20th century, along with his pupil Thomas Earle Hesketh.

About the viola

This viola is an Amati model, completed in 1897 and bearing the soft varnish for which Chanot is well known. The corners of this viola are particularly worthy of mention: they are exceptionally well-executed Amati corners and remain crisp to the touch.

The two piece back is of highly-figured, book-matched maple. The front is two pieces of straight-grained spruce which widens considerably towards the flanks. The varnish is a very attractive golden-brown colour, laid over a lighter ground.

The viola has a length of back of 16 and 1/4 inches.

How does it sound?

This is a powerful instrument which projects well and is extremely resonant. It seems to grow and develop each time it is played: I am looking forward to it meeting its next player and opening up even further!


Instruments of this age and quality are very rarely in such excellent condition. This viola looks like it has lain peacefully in a case for most of its life: quite a surprising turn of events for an instrument which sounds so brilliant! There are no cracks and the varnish bears only the slightest traces of wear, probably from the first decade of its life when the varnish had yet to harden.

More information

This viola has now sold, but you can view other violas in this price range.