The pre-eminent Scottish violin maker, Matthew Hardie was born in Jedburgh in 1755. His early career and training is unclear; he worked briefly as a joiner, and then did military service from 1778 to 1782. By 1784 he was established as a violin repairer, and by 1790 he was labelling his own instruments from Lawnmarket, Edinburgh. He was making fine copies of ‘Long Pattern’ Stradivaris of the 1690-1700 period, comparable with the instruments made by Fendt, Panormo and Hill in London, implying some communication between them, although Hardie never seems to have left Edinburgh. From 1822 he was assisted by his son Thomas at new premises at 10 Paul’s Work, and may also have employed David Stirrat and John McGeorge. He died in 1826 and was succeeded by Thomas, who worked from his shop at 15 Shakespeare Square and later 79 High Street, up to 1856. His instruments are often distinguishable by the Guadagnini-like prick marks around the eye of the scroll, and similarly the oval shaped lower circles of the soundhole.
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