May 2013

Nose, knives and gouges to the grindstone this month. Super Hubert is suffering from exposure to Kryptonite and is on sick leave, Magic Eleanor has moved on to better things (at Christies. Hah. What have they got that I don’t?) … Continue reading


April, come she will. The workshop is still packed tight with cellos; made, half-made, restored, half restored. A highlight this month has been a particularly beautiful Vuillaume, which loyal ‘Strad’ readers will find more about in the next issue. Having … Continue reading


March 2013

Sincere thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to send in corrections to The Brompton’s Book. I take it as a sort of encouragement that people are reading and using it, so I’m glad to hear responses. All updates and corrections are being filed, I hope for a second edition one day.

Practical work has resumed in a big way, with cellos coming to shape all around us. Hubert and I have to pick our way carefully into the workshop in the morning. We also have a rather beautiful Grancino cello undergoing a neck reset. Other visiting splendours over the past month include a rare Deconet (hold the arguments, please) and a lovely Panormo. So we’re not short of inspiration.

We’re being joined for a week in March by Emmanuelle Dion-Vermand, another ex-assistant of mine, currently establishing her own business in France. But you know, Twickenham in the early spring is so lovely she couldn’t stay away. So we’re going to work together on a project she has… we need to get some cellos finished and out of the way so that she can find her old bench.

February 2013

This last week has been purfling week, in preparation for cello month ahead. So with Super-Hubert providing the power and myself offering delicate directional touches on the mighty four-handed plane, we shot enough poplar wood shavings to keep us in … Continue reading

January 2013

It’s cold, but we have 5 cello projects to keep us warm. A Rugeri copy, two different Montagnana models and two ‘B’ form Stradivaris all in various stages. Have to keep checking the right neck goes with the right body … Continue reading

December 2012

This year has culminated with the publication of the ‘Bromptons Book of Violin and Bow Makers’, which has been assembled by James Buchanan, John Milnes and myself over the last few years. I hope it will be a useful contribution to the information available, which thanks to the work of dedicated researchers in many fields, seems in constant need of updating.

The project has taken an enormous amount of energy, but I’m looking forward to ploughing that back into the workshop. I have several cellos to make next year. I am also joined this year by Hubert de Launay, a young and talented maker who will be making sure we don’t slow down.

Merry  Christmas and a happy new year to everyone who has had a casual peek at this website, and a special thank you to those who have actually got in touch.

Best wishes, John