I have been involved with classical music from a very early age.
My grandfather played first violin in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Orchestra and my father led the RLPO for over ten years. I started
to play the violin at the age of five, but later transferred to
the double bass, playing in the Clwyd County Youth Orchestra.
I realized early on that I was actually more interested in the
way the violin was made rather than playing it and I decided that
I wanted to be a professional violin maker. I studied for three
years at Newark School of Violin Making, under Glen Collins (the
nephew of William Luff) and graduated with Merit. Following graduation
I worked in a number of violin establishments, learning restoration
and repair techniques, bow rehairing and the setting up and adjustment
of fine instruments. At Ealing Strings in London I worked with luthiers
who had worked in the Hill workshops, and learned valuable skills
based on the methods they used. I moved to Germany for a number
of years, and worked at Winterling’s in Hamburg and at Francke’s
in Stuttgart. Here I was exposed to the European traditions of restoration
and worked under Christine Vasterling, a past pupil of Max Moller.
I was able to gain first hand experience of fine classic instruments,
and talking with high calibre musicians, to learn what they wanted
they wanted to get from their instruments.
Early in my violin making studies I became aware of the shortcomings
of commercially available varnishes and so I started to make my
own, based on traditional recipes. I fuse my own Baltic amber and
make my own madder lakes, combining these into a varnish of exceptional
quality and clarity. The results can be seen in the photos of some
of my instruments in The Gallery. I have carried on research over
the years, and have had some very rewarding results after studying
with Geary Baese in America.
I returned to England and set up my own Workshop in Liverpool in
1989, where I work on making new instruments and restoration and
repair. I have incorporated what I have learned in 25 years of violin
making, and I am now able to craft fine toned instruments of high