Nicolas Lupot is considered the greatest of the French violin makers, and is often called the French Stradivari. He learned the craft with his father François in Orléans, and moved to Paris in 1794, probably at the suggestion of François Pique. Lupot collaborated with Pique in his early years in Paris before opening his own workshop in the rue de Gramont in 1798. Eight years later he moved to the rue Croix des Petits Champs, his fortunes rising as his talent matured.
The influence of Stradivari was evident from the beginning of Lupot’s career, even before his move to Paris. The 1793 cello, with its red-orange varnish and black-chamfered scroll, is in stark contrast to the more traditional work of his father. Once in Paris, Lupot clearly benefited from the wealth of Stradivari instruments that were in the city at that time. The 1805 violin shows him copying Stradivari’s ‘Golden Period’ with inimitable refinement and taste, and applying his trademark rich and transparent orange-red varnish.
Notable among Lupot’s pupils are Charles François Gand, who married Lupot’s adopted daughter and thus inherited his workshop, and Auguste Sébastien Philippe Bernadel. Alongside Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, these two makers continued the work that their master had started, and Lupot’s influence remained strong in Paris throughout the 19th century.