Scottish Violin Circa 1850

This violin has now sold.

Scottish Violin Circa 1850

About Violin Making in Scotland

According David Rattray, author of Violin Making in Scotland, the country probably boasts the highest number of violin makers per capita in the world. It is a great joy to be based in this country and to come across such a varied and characterful range of instruments. A great many of the Scottish instrument makers were amateurs, often with a high level of competency at woodworking brought from experience of other trades.

By 1850 there were various centres of making within Scotland, all with different characteristics that go some way to identifying the place of manufacture. This was by no means as codified as the Italian schools as the influence was informal as opposed to being passed down through a system of apprenticeship.

About the violin

This is a really special instrument! With an incredibly generous length of back of 372 mm, the sound is as huge as you could possibly hope for. Although its size means that it´s not the right instrument for everyone, for the right player this will make a fantastic match.

The violin is amateur made and of a personal model. The placement of the f holes, slightly higher than is conventional, suggests that it was most likely made on the east coast of Scotland, around about the Lothian area. The shape of the f holes is most influenced by Stradivari, again an indication that this violin belongs to the greater Edinburgh school.

The violin has a two piece back of medium-flamed maple which descends gently from the centre joint. The front is of wide-grained, locally-grown pine which increases in width towards the flanks. The varnish is a golden brown colour, laid over a lighter golden ground.

How does it sound?

The violin is flexible and responsive with the focus of a laser beam. Somehow there´s also a great deal of subtle and beauty to the tone: I wish I knew who made this instrument as whoever it was had serious talent. Sadly, given the history of Scottish violin making outlined above, it´s unlikely that I will achieve this. Do get in touch if you know where to find more oddly large yet totally brilliant fiddles!


The violin is in good condition and is original in all its parts.

More information

This violin has now sold, but you can view other violins in this price range or view other violins by this maker.