Arthur Richardson was born in Stavely, Derbyshire in 1882, and trained as a woodcarver. He moved to Crediton in Devon some time before 1915, and having taught himself to make violins, established a workshop there. He was extremely successful, and became an important figure in early twentieth century English lutherie. He worked with the violist Lionel Tertis to develop a new ‘Tertis model’ viola, which had some initial impact, but has now largely faded from view. He also developed a good clear red varnish with a chemist named Millington, which Richardson used himself, and was sold commercially. He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1961, and died in 1965. His work is of a high order, cleanly executed and well modelled on specific master instruments, and uniformly varnished in deep red-brown tints.
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