Poor old Matthew Hardie. A gifted violin maker who boasted that his violins were 'inferior to none of the London made ones', his life nevertheless descended into ruin. Falling victim to alcoholism, he found himself in debtor's prison and eventually died in the poorhouse.
Since his ignominious death in 1826, his genius has been more fully appreciated and he is now known as the 'Scottish Stradivari', not a bad title given that Scotland's history boasts more violin makers per capita than any other country in the world!
This violin was made in 1804 on an early Stradivari model from around the 1680s. It has the most subtle, sophisticated and silvery tone which sings out and carries very well. On the occasion that I'm booked to play a concert, this violin is normally found in my case as it plays so easily. A gorgeous violin that is very much worth having a play on!