Cello by Peter Thompson, London, circa 1785

This cello has now sold.

 Cello by Peter Thompson, London, circa 1785

About Peter Thompson

Peter Thompson was a member of the London trade in the second half of the eighteenth century. These makers were clustered around St Paul’s and often produced unlabelled instruments for other retailers. The London makers of this time were pretty variable: most of the demand from shops was for quickly-made instruments which could be sold at affordable prices.

Thompson labelled his own instruments and had his own shop at the west end of the churchyard: this suggests that he would have used outworkers to produce instruments and was at the upper end of the pecking order. His instruments are finely made and would have been retailed for a larger amount than the quickly-made instruments that were also available. The cello is labelled ‘Thompson and Son’: it is not clear whether this was a marketing device or whether a yet-unknown son was working with him by this date.

About the cello

This cello was made in London about 1785. It was made in St Paul’s Churchyard, the centre of the British instrument-making world at this time. The cello is based on a Stainer model with full arching, entirely typical of London making during the period. The purfling is inked, another feature which is typical of the time.

The back is two pieces of relatively plain maple with ribs and scroll to match. The front is two pieces of straight-grained spruce and the varnish is a characteristic chocolate-brown, laid over a lighter ground.

The cello has a length of back of 744 mm or 29 and 3/8th inches.

How does it play?

The cello is dark and powerful with a lovely richness to the lower register. It rings well and would provide a beautifully broad bottom line in a quartet setting.


The cello is in good restored condition and comes with a full condition report. It bears its original label.

More information

This cello has now sold, but you can view other cellos in this price range.