W.E. Hill & Sons: The Violin Makers of the Guarneri family, Their Life and Work
Guarneri.net is extemely grateful to David Hill for his assistance and generous permission in allowing us to publish these extracts from The Violin Makers of the Guarneri family, Their Life and Work.

The most important literary work on the Guarneri family was written by Alfred, Arthur and W. Henry Hill and was first published in London in 1932. Subsequent editions and re-prints have been published but with very little alteration to the core of the work. In spite of further research and the diversity of opinions of other experts in the field since the publication of this work, it remains the only cohesive basis of learning on the Guarneri family.

The Violin Makers of the Guarneri family, Their Life and Work discusses each maker in detail from information gathered from local archival material and discusses the relationship of their work with their contemporaries. The links in the table of contents of the book link to synopses of the individual chapters. Please note that the listings found here are not exhaustive catalogues of the works of the respective makers but are rather the Hill firm's opinion as to the representative examples that they were acquainted with at the time of writing in 1932. No warranty is given in any respect by Guarneri.net as to the accuracy of the information displayed or the validity of any opinions expressed.

Table of Contents
Chapter I: Andrea Guarneri
Chapter II: Pietro Guarneri of Mantua
Chapter III: Giuseppe Guarneri son of Andrea
Chapter IV: Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu
Chapter V: Guarneri del Gesu Violins, The Tonal Aspect
Chapter VI: The House of Guarneri ( see below )
Chapter VII: The Guarneri Labels ( see below )
Chapter VIII: Pietro Guarneri of Venice

Synopsis of Chapter VI: The House of Guarneri
The Casa Guarneri 1654-1740. Illustration of house. Known earlier as Casa Orcelli. Andrea Guarneri living there in 1654. It remains a family home until 1740. Sold to Giacomo Antonio Arrighi. Description of house. The situation in the Piazza S.Domenico. Terms of a mortgage in 1728. Present condition of the house. Portion of plan of Cremona. Situation of houses occupied by the famed violin-makers. The Duomo and Piazza Grande of Cremona. Parish of S.Prospero where del Gesu lived.
Synopsis of Chapter VII: The Guarneri labels
  • Labels were printed from wood blocks. Text always in Latin with the exception of 'Joseph'. Label not placed in defined position. Guarneri instruments not invariably labelled.
  • Earliest dated label inserted by Andrea Guarneri. Different types of label.
  • Labels of Pietro Guarneri.of Mantua. Only two types used. None found dating from Cremona.
  • Labels of Guiseppe (sic) Guarneri filius Andreae. Earliest date 1696. Second type dated from 1701-2. Small variations. Labels found in instruments dating from later years of the master.
  • Labels of Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu. One type only. No variation of text. Label frequently found in copies of the master's violins.
  • Label of Pietro Guarneri of Venice. The earliest dated label. The text. Earliest label dated from Venice. Labels elaborated by ornmental border. Large size label. Latest date hitherto seen by us of the year 1754.
© W.E. Hill & Sons, London, 1965
Metropolitan Museum Exhibition, 1994
Although the Hill brothers' book remains the basis of learning about the Guarneri family, as such, far more detailed analysis has been recently done on the work of Guarneri del Gesu, in no small part due to the acceleration of value in his work above and beyond the work of the other family members. In 1994, the 250th anniversary of the master's death, an exhibition of 25 his remaining instruments was organised at the Metropolitan Museum in New York by Peter Biddulph and Stewart Pollens.
"Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu" a limited edition, fully illustrated 2 volume book about the maker and based on the exhibits is currently available. Contributors to the work include Carlo Chiesa, John Dilworth, Roger Hargrave, Peter Klein, Stewart Pollens, Duane Rosengard, and Eric Wen with photography by Stewart Pollens and published by Peter Biddulph, London, 1998. To acquire a copy of the work please contact Peter Biddulph for details.

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