One of the most distinguished makers of the nineteenth century Vienna school, Lemböck was born in Ofen, Budapest in 1814. His early training took place under Peter Teufelsdorfer and Johann Baptist Schweitzer in Budapest. Both were pupils of Franz Geissenhof in Vienna, Teufelsorfder moving to Budapest in 1808, and Schweitzer in 1823. Teufelsdorfer was a native Viennese, but Schweitzer was born in Pécs in Hungary, and is recognised as one of the greatest Hungarian violin makers. Although not formally united as the ‘dual Monarchy’ of Austria and Hungary until 1867, Hungary was at this time ruled by the same Hapsburg dynasty as Austria, and movement between the two nations was common. Lemböck spent several years from 1840 as a ‘journeyman’, a requirement of his apprenticeship, taking casual work at his trade within the region. When this was completed, he took a permanent position with Anton Fischerl in Vienna. As was quite customary, he secured his place in the shop by marrying Fischer’s daughter and ensuring the continuation of the business. In 1855 he took over the nearby shop of Bernard Stoss, after his death in 1854, and by this time had clearly established a leading reputation in the city. Prizes in competitions in Munich in 1854 and London in 1862 were followed by appointments as Luthier to the Austrian Court in 1863, and to the Vienna Conservatoire in 1871. His shop by this time was well-staffed with makers including Hermann Voigt, Alexander Ferency and August Setzer, and instruments were being supplied to other businesses in Budapest and London. Following Lemböck’s death in 1893, the shop was taken over by another employee, Carl Haudek.
Lemböck was a very fine and disciplined craftsman, although sometimes given to stylistic exaggeration. His copies of Paganini’s ‘Cannon’ del Gesù are notable, but he worked in most classical Italian styles, using a rather hard clear varnish in a variety of shades. Most are clearly branded with the initials ‘G.L.’ internally and externally.
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