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H. Emile Blondelet Violin, Paris, 1925

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Hugues Emile Blondelet joined the famed Jerome Thibouville-Lamy workshop (JTL) at only 15 years of age. By the time he was 33, he had become co-director of the Mirecourt firm, contributing greatly to the firm's success. A skilled and careful maker, his workmanship is evident in this excellent and well preserved example, made just three years before his death at age 53. Our testers found the tone to be powerful and very clear, with the ability to soar above a large ensemble.

Carefully selected wood, with back of two pieces of medium grained maple, top of medium grained spruce. Medium to dark orange varnish applied over a golden ground, with delicate shading. The varnish is in excellent condition, belying the violin's 92 years.

The Jerome Thibouville-Lamy Workshop
With musical instrument making roots dating back to the 1500s, the famous Mirecourt firm of JTL (Jerome Thibouville-Lamy) emerged into prominence in 1861, after a series of mergers and marriages. Growing rapidly from that point, in its heyday JTL employed over 1,000 employees, with an annual production capacity of 150,000 instruments. Countless makers trained at and worked for JTL, with many remaining with the firm, and others setting up their own workshops. The company's success was due to two overarching factors: a strict focus on quality control standards, and meeting the demands of a wide variety of customers, from students to professionals, via three separate grades of instruments. Today's marketplace for fine violins at affordable prices owes much to Jerome Thibouville-Lamy -- simply put, JTL's massive production capacity, tightly controlled control, and responsiveness to a wide variety of customers harmoniously combined to produce sought-after instruments that are still available in today's markets.

Price: $10,000

Size: 4/4

Tonal Profile:

Country of Origin

French Violin Making

Mirecourt: The Center of Violin Making in France

Although the precise beginning of violin making in the northeastern French commune of Mirecourt has been lost to obscurity, there is no question that some of the greatest violin makers in history lived and worked in Mirecourt. In the 1600s, there were perhaps 50 luthiers, as the city was just beginning to forge its reputation. Precise recordkeeping was instituted during the 18th century, a necessity of the guild system that was helping transform Western Europe into an economic powerhouse.

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Jean Baptiste Vuillaume

Standing alongside Amati, Stradivari and Guarneri as one of history's greatest and most influential violinmakers, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume possessed an unusual array of qualities unique in the violinmaking world. Born in the famous French violinmaking center of Mirecourt in 1798, Jean Baptiste learned his craft well, first from his father, later from Fr. Chanot.

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Parisian Violin Making

The heart and soul of French violin making is actually Mirecourt, which is around 100 miles from Paris. It was the birthplace of most of the great violin makers of France. There, the famous European guild system firmly took hold, providing the training, support and resources necessary to develop skilled luthiers and fine quality instruments.

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Workshops

Explore the workshops of Jerome Thibouville-Lamy and Laberte Humbert Frères.

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