Violin for John Betts, London, 1819

Violin for John Betts, London, 1819

About John Betts

John Betts was the founder of a great workshop which spanned several generations. Betts was born in Lincolnshire in 1752 and moved to London to work for Richard Duke in 1765. He was able to work his way up in the Duke workshop and eventually bought it from Duke´s daughter.

By 1782 he had established the great Betts workshop in Holborn´s Royal Exchange, employing some of the most talented makers of the period, including Vincenzo Panormo, Joseph Hill II, Henry Lockey Hill, John Furber and both B.S. Fendts. With such an incredible team in the workshop, John Betts was free to focus on establishing his London shop as the centre of the world for the trade in Cremonese violins.

Upon his death in 1823, the shop was inherited by his younger brother and pupil Arthur, as well as his nephew Charles Vernon. The shop thrived for a further generation before finally closing in 1867, having firmly linked the family name with some of the world´s greatest instruments.

About the violin

The violin was made in London in 1819 for John Betts. It is modelled after the instruments of Stradivari.

The violin has a one piece back of quarter-sawn maple with attractive narrow flame. The ribs and scroll are of similar wood. The front is two pieces of straight-grained spruce. and the varnish is a characteristic orange-brown, laid over a lighter golden ground.

The violin has a length of back of 353 mm.

How does it sound?

This violin has a full, nutty tone with lots of elasticity to the sound in the lower and middle registers. It can be pushed into a raucous, bright sound or allowed to sing with much more refinement: a lovely instrument for changing character quickly.


The violin is in good condition.


The violin comes with the certificate of Tim Toft dated 2020. The certificate notes that the violin is a fine example of the Betts workshop and shows the hand of John Carter.

Further information

Please get in touch for more details about this fine John Betts violin for sale and a member of our team will get back to you.

More information

For more options, please view other violins in this price range.