Monday, July 12, 2010

Objects that inspire - great violin case makers

My initial interest was in guitars and making great cases for them. Designer and luthier Angus Noble nudged me in the direction of violins. Whereas most guitar cases are utilitarian, there is a long tradition of fine violin case making - especially in England. So here's a roll call of the greats that have set the standard which we aspire to match.

Foremost amongst English cases are those of W.E Hill. From the late 19th century until the company dissolved in the 1990's, Hill were leading makers of stringed instruments and foremost case makers.

Here is an elegant Hill wooden double case.

Hill wooden case

Mick Gordge was apprenticed to Hills in the 1950's and went on to establish himself as one of the most respected case makers of his time. When Mick died a few years ago I was touched by tremendous outflow of affection and regard that came from the case-making community.

I admire the absolute simplicity of the Gordge design and perfection of his workmanship. This is a typical example:

Gordge violin case

Desmond Timms carries on the Mick Gordge tradition - his cases have the same immaculate attention to detail and outstanding quality. Desmond has been a tremendous help in the development of our cases - and I am very grateful for the time he has taken to help a newcomer like me.

Here is the Timms Traditional Model:

Timms case

Luis Negri is one of the handful of top end modern cases makers. Negri cases are beautiful in design and execution. I was delighted to get some very helpful feedback from Luis on our Series 1.0 violin case.

Here is the Negri Diplomat case:

Negri Diplomat large

Dimitri Musafia is the giant among modern case makers and his cases protect an enviable number of the world's most precious violins. Based in Cremona, Musafia cases are both gorgeous and exceptionally thorough in their construction and fitting.

Here is the top of the range Musafia Aeturnum:

Musafia Aeturnum

My hope is that Calder cases will maintain the standards set by these great cases makers and add something more. The Series 1.0 case shown below was a start - the Series 2.0 model will be smaller, stronger and lighter.

Calder series 1.0 violin case

Dr Glenn Wood has written an excellent book The Art and History of Violin Cases which is available on Amazon.


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