The Violin-Maker

Antonio Stradivari, the notable Italian violin-maker behind the Stradivari family, actually made a variety of instruments: cellos, guitars, and at least one harp. The MFA’s curators call this man, painted by William H.W. Bicknell, the Stradivarius of America. Most famously, he made violins. However, he doesn’t quite have Stradivari’s name recognition.

Jerome Bonaparte Squier (1838-1912), crafted his instruments in Boston. Squier set up shop in Boston in 1881. Some of his creations went to musicians in the Boston Symphony. He was a detail oriented craftsman, experimenting with different formulas for varnishes.

He also had a penchant for other famous names, christening one violin the George Washington, another the Abraham Lincoln. He also created a series of instruments named after the twelve apostles.

Squier’s son, Victor, went on to found the “fiddle factory” of Battle Creek, Michigan.

Image: detail from the Violin Maker, on display near the Huntington entrance of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


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