Violin Makers Named Vuillaume

Vuillaume is a respected name in the history of violin making in France. There is, however, wide divergence in quality of instruments made by the various (more than thirty) bearers of the name. There are also many inexpensive instruments stamped with the name and made by commercial manufacturers in Mirecourt, France, which is the seat of the Vuillaume family, as well as the French center of violin craftsmanship.

The following are outstanding among the Vuillaumes:

Charles François, who worked at Mirecourt from 1755 to 1779, made instruments of good workmanship, mellow and responsive in tone.

Jean Baptiste (1798-1875) was born in Mirecourt, where he worked until he was 19. He then went to Paris where the influence of François Chanot led him to approach violin making in a scientific manner. This led to his study of acoustics, analyses of varnishes, and to experimentation of various kinds. He won many prizes and achieved recognition as the greatest technical genius of his time, surpassed in French violin making only by Nicholas Lupot. His violins were numbered and recorded in his shop.


Specimen labels:

J.B. Vuillaume No. 4
Chez N.A. Lété
rue Pavée-Saint-Sauveur no. 20
á Paris 1823

Jean Baptiste Vuillaume á Paris
rue Croix des Petits Champs

Jean Baptiste Vuillaume á Paris
3 rue Demours-Ternes

The signature is usually followed by a doubly encircled BV.



Prepared by the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services, Smithsonian Institution

PIMS/MUS31/rev 10/02