Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri worked for his father, Andrea, for almost twenty years, and inherited the ‘Casa Guarneri’ and the family business on Andrea’s death in 1698. Many of Andrea’s late instruments, particularly the cellos, were primarily the work of Giuseppe.
Like his father before him, Giuseppe developed his own individual model, and collaborated with some of the most gifted makers of the day, notably his son Giuseppe ‘del Gesù’ and Carlo Bergonzi. At his best he was a superb craftsman (see the circa 1705 violin) and his mushroom-shaped upper bouts and slanting f-holes make his model one of the most distinctive of the Cremonese makers. Yet, despite his ability as a maker, he was over-shadowed throughout his life by his great Cremonese contemporary, Stradivari, who enjoyed the patronage of many of the courts of Europe, not to mention the help of at least two sons.
The last known instruments bearing Giuseppe’s original label date from around 1720. His two sons Pietro and Giuseppe were active in the workshop from around 1710, and the 1714 violin would appear to show the early hand of del Gesù. Pietro left for Venice in 1717, but Giuseppe stayed behind to inherit the business and to further improve on his father’s model, attaining heights that many believe have never been surpassed.