This instrument is no longer available

A violin made by Chipot-Vuillaume during 1892, the last year of his life

belly back

     This violin shares the usual traits known to come from the shop of Chipot-Vuillaume with his several excellent craftsmen, but seems undoubtedly to come from the hand of the shop master himself during that last year of his life (see summary below), when his health was declining and apparently some of his patience as well. The finish work is of a very high standard, the arching and other details impeccably executed, but the stage of the carving just before that shows someone of great skill rushing to get the job done. The result is a fine French violin with a warm, even tone, and a lot of character from this somewhat eccentric maker just below the varnish. Further adding to the story of this violin is some unknown injury some decades ago where the scroll was apparently crushed, then rebuilt using slabs of wood on either side to restore its strength. This disfigurement is quite obvious in these pictures, and detract from the historical value somewhat, hence the rather low asking price. The repairs are sound, if not beautiful, and the pegs work properly. Similarly there is a long crack on the treble side of the lower belly, properly and lightly repaired inside some decades ago. Not the prettiest work but sound. I have replaced some missing wood along the lower bass-side belly edge and performed some minor retouching, and have shortened the bass-side lower rib as it had become distended through the shrinkage of the violin plates over the past century. The bridge is also new.

     Chipot-Vuillaume renamed himself from just Chipot, upon marrying a cobbler's daugher whose family name happened to be the same as that of the great luthier and entrepreneur J.B. Vuillaume. Chipot's success after this soared, as many were fooled by his inclusion in his labels of a note indicating, falsely, his relation to that great luthier. He died in 1892 due to his 'dissolute' lifestyle according to dictionaries. But his skill and those of the luthiers working for him were very fine, resulting in many excellent violins from this workshop over a couple of decades. The shop and rights to the Chipot-Vuillaume name were purchased by Drouin, carrying on the shop's traditional style and quality well into the 1920's.