The founding father of the famous Hill family of English violin and bow makers, dealers, and experts, Joseph was born in Alvechurch, Worcestershire in 1715. He was working independently in London from 1747 and almost certainly gained his initial training with Peter Wamsley. He seems to have specialised in cellos of good, modern proportions from the very beginning, for which there was clearly a strong demand in England at the time. He occupied various addresses in and around Westminster, in Angel Court, then at the sign of the ‘Harp & Flute’ in Pall Mall from 1761, and from 1765 in the Haymarket, next to the theatre established there in 1720. He was joined by his son Joseph (II) in 1773, who took over the business in about 1780, the elder Joseph retiring to a house in Avery Row on New Bond Street, where his successors would eventually establish the firm of W.E. Hill & Sons. He died in 1784. His work is generally of a very high standard, loosely modelled on a Stainer form, with varnishes of different quality, from a thin brown to a richer golden or red-brown coat. His work is also found bearing the labels and brands of other dealers in London and elsewhere in England.
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