François-Louis Pique was the pioneer of the post-revolutionary Paris school, although he was established in the city in 1777, some years before the revolution itself. According to the Vannes dictionary of violin makers, he was born in Mirecourt in 1758, where he was apprenticed to Edmond Saunier. His Paris shop was first established in the rue Coquillière, and later at 52 rue de Grenelles Saint-Honoré. His approach was vastly different to that of previous French makers, in that he took the Stradivari model, in preference to the previously popular Amati or Stainer forms, and attempted to follow it faithfully in all its important concepts of form and arching. He also made a red varnish in imitation of Stradivari’s. He commissioned work from his contemporary, Nicolas Lupot, who was working in Stuttgart, but came to Paris himself in 1796. Although ultimately overshadowed by Lupot, the two makers were clearly complementary, and made Paris the most advanced and sophisticated centre of violin making in the early nineteenth century. Pique retired in 1818, and died in Charenton-Saint-Maurice in 1822.
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