Bernhard Simon Fendt was the first member of his prolific and influential family to become established in London. He was born in Füssen in southern Germany in 1769 and worked with his uncle François Fent in Paris between 1783 and 1796. In 1798 he moved to London to join the workshop of Thomas Dodd, working with John Frederick Lott (I). In 1809 Dodd moved his premises, and Fendt joined the shop of John Betts in the Royal Exchange. Betts was the most significant figure in the London violin trade at that time and Fendt made many very fine instruments for him, bringing a much more sophisticated approach than had previously existed in England. He fell out with Betts in 1825 and subsequently worked in partnership with Betts’ nephew Charles Vernon. Very little of his work carries his own label, but his violins, violas and cellos, with the labels of the various businessmen he served, are amongst the finest made in London in this period.
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