This famous book has the rare distinction of having been written by one family of distinguished violin-makers and experts — the Hill family of London — about another — the legendary Guarneri family of Mantua, Cremona, and Venice. The Hills were unrivaled connoisseurs with a family tradition of violin-making, restoration, and scholarship. Several of their books form the basis of our knowledge of old stringed instruments. This generously illustrated volume offers both a history of the Guarneri family and a commentary on their craftsmanship.
The Hills describe and analyze the life and work of each of the five great master craftsmen of the Guarneri family, from Andrea Guarneri (c. 1626–98), the founding father, to his grandsons Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesú (1698–1744), the most illustrious member of the family, and Pietro Guarneri of Venice (1695–1762). Over 130 photographs, 16 in full color, illustrate Guarneri craftsmanship in consummate detail. The craft of each master is explored in terms of forms, dimensions, materials, favored varnishes, and work methods. The authors compare Guarneri instruments to those of Stradivari and Amati, and list those still known to exist. Filled with fascinating detail, this definitive work is essential to violinists, musical historians, connoisseurs, and collectors.