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Peter Wamsley

Peter Wamsley may be considered the father of the English cello. He was one of the first makers in England to construct good instruments of modern proportions, contributing to a fine stock of valuable orchestral instruments which accumulated prestige in the following century with the work of Banks, the Forsters, Betts, Kennedy and many others. He was born in about 1640, and was probably taught by John Barrett, who worked in Piccadilly in London, where Wamsley’s own shop was established some time around 1727, identified by the sign of the ‘Harp & Hautboy’ or the ‘Golden Harp’, as indicated on his labels. He received the Royal appointment of the Prince of Wales, and retired in 1741. He died in 1744. The shop produced many violins, small violas, bows, and at least one double bass. His work is of very fine quality, invariably on the Stainer model, and his craftsmanship and design of great delicacy and usually with a strongly pigmented red-brown varnish. He was joined by his son Peter (II) and Thomas Smith, who continued to run the shop, but their work is noticeably less refined.

Peter Wamsley

(fl London, 1725-1745)

Peter Wamsley may be considered the father of the English cello. He was one of the first makers in England to construct good instruments of modern proportions, contributing to a fine stock of valuable orchestral instruments which accumulated prestige in the following century with the work of Banks, the Forsters, Betts, Kennedy and many others. He was born in about 1640, and was probably taught by John Barrett, who worked in Piccadilly in London, where Wamsley’s own shop was established some time around 1727, identified by the sign of the ‘Harp & Hautboy’ or the ‘Golden Harp’, as indicated on... Read more

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