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This is an exceptional violin which is a beautiful copy of the wonderful ‘Hellier’ Stradivarius of 1679, one of the ten decorated instruments made by Antonio Stradivari. Not only does it have stunning good looks but it has a sound which sings from the first touch of the bow on strings.

Out of all the violins that a maker produces, just occasionally everything lines up to perfection to create a violin like this one that just stands out from all their other output. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a very special violin.

All our new violins are individually hand crafted using traditional methods and personally hand selected by myself direct from the maker.


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This ‘Hellier’ copy violin is made from superb quality materials, the very best. The top is made from spruce of fine and straight grain, just perfect for a violin. The one piece back is just gorgeous, with its glorious narrow flaming, which is magnificently beautiful without compromising tonal properties. The ribs and scroll are made from maple with matching figure. The top and back plates are inlaid with stunning mother of pearl inlay, whilst the ribs and scroll are adorned with ornamentation that exactly follows the patterning found on the ‘Hellier’ Strad.

The violin has the same outline, with masculine full shoulders, as well as scroll and f-hole design as the original but the arching has been modified to the superior flatter arching that Stradivari developed in his later violins that are associated with his Golden Period and provide the violin with its superior tonal qualities.

This new violin has an exquisite tone already which just makes it shine out from similarly priced violins from the first touch of the bow on the strings. It has an astounding strong, warm and clear tone and precise diction, providing the violin with excellent projection – a rare combination to find in such a raw violin. It is already so responsive you would not take it for a new violin. Then when you consider that the sound is only going to improve as it matures and opens up, you are going to get a stunning sounding violin for a very long time to come.

The violin is perfectly finished off with a glorious deep and transparent golden yellow oil/spirit varnish, as used by the great violinmakers of Cremona.

All our new violins are individually hand crafted using traditional methods and personally hand selected by myself direct from the maker.

The high quality spruce and maple used for this violin has been air dried for over 14years.

Unlike many companies we make no fanciful claims about our violins being ‘professional’ or ‘soloist’ standard. However, we will say that in the under £1000 price bracket we have not found any violins that are better.

The excellent craftsmanship that goes into making these violins is followed up with careful set up to ensure that it not only has a wonderful tone but also the highest order of playability. Unlike many companies, and especially those imported from China, we ship to you with the bridge in place – this ensures that our high quality set up is maintained, so that you can take it straight out of the box, tune it and immediately start enjoying its wonderful ability to make music.

(Many companies ship with the bridge down, which frequently results in the violin arriving with the soundpost having fallen down. Now the two most important elements in the sound quality of a violin are the bridge and the soundpost, which require fine adjustment by an experienced person to get the optimum sound out of your instrument, meaning a trip to your nearest luthier if you are to get the best out of your newly purchased violin. This is why we have taken the time to develop safe methods of shipping violins that ensure that the careful set up is maintained for when it arrives with you).

What makes our violins different from others in this price range:

  • Mature, air dried high quality tonewood used.
  • Made by a single craftsman from start to finish, using traditional violinmaking techniques.
  • The high standards of traditional varnishes are emulated.
  • Precisely controlled plate thickness and distribution.
  • Fingerboards are checked for correct thickness, curvature and scope before finishing with smoothing and polishing.
  • Thickness of the neck with fingerboard checked – these are frequently too bulky for comfortable playing, particularly at the heel of the neck.
  • String grooves at the nut and bridge are well lubricated with graphite to protect strings.
  • Bridge is professionally cut, with special attention to the feet fitting perfectly.
  • Correct string clearance checked for.
  • Pegs are shaped to give them the correct taper and peg compound applied to ensure that they work smoothly.
  • Pegs ends are rounded for a nice finish.
  • Correct cutting and placement of the soundpost is an imperative for optimum sound of the violin. Full contact of the ends with the back and belly are required, with no minor gaps.

About Our Tonewoods:

Nearly every new violin advertised for sale these days comes with a claim that the wood is 10 – 20 years old at least. The inside story from those in the know is very different. The truth is that probably fewer than 10% of these instruments have wood that is 5 years old.  Pressures of time and economy on price mean that an ever increasing number of makers are using ‘Green Wood’, less than a year old. Not only do violins made from green wood lack the tonal qualities of those constructed of mature wood but there is a high risk that they will crack, joints will come apart or the neck will warp. Our makers have a stockpile of wood sufficient for 5 years and the instruments that we select from them are made from wood guaranteed to have been air dried for at least 14 years. Forced drying, using heat to speed up the process makes the wood brittle.

Plate Thicknessing:

The tone and projection of a violin is critically dependent on both correct thickness on the plates (belly and back) of the violin. Too thick and they will be stronger but lack the flexibility to vibrate freely. Too thin and the violin will be fragile under the immense pressure of the strings and although it may initially appear to have a good sound, over the course of a couple of years it will lose its tone. Our makers have carefully studied many highest quality instruments, especially the very best 17th century Cremonese (Stradivari, Guarneri del Gesu, Amati), and have developed a careful understanding of the correct plate thickness and distribution to give optimal results over the long term. The plates of these violins are on average around 5% thicker than that commonly seen on many new violins, and their tone will only ever improve with the ripening of time.

Size: 4/4

Back length: 357mm

Upper Bout: 169mm      Middle Bout: 110mm    Lower Bout: 206mm

String length: 329mm

Fingerboard: Ebony       Fittings: Boxwood

This violin is so good that it immediately commands the highest quality strings and as such this violin comes already fitted with best Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings.

A case is included in the price but no bow. Please Contact Us for bow options at very special prices.


The ‘Hellier’ Stradivarius violin of 1679 and its History

The ‘Hellier’ Stradivarius violin is one of 10 decorated instruments known to have been made by Antonio Stradivarius, the first being ‘Le Lever du Soleil’ or ‘Sunrise’ violin in 1677, with the ‘Hellier’ being the second. It is highly regarded by many experts as amongst Stradivari’s finest productions, including A. Philips Hill (of the famous violin dealers W.E.Hill & Sons, who handled the sale of the violin on at least 5 occasions) describes it as “One of the finest Stradivari violins in existence”. Whilst one of the leading Stradivari experts of the last century, Simone Fernando Sacconi, refers to the Hellier as “Stradivari’s most precious inlaid instruments”.

Made in 1679 it is one of Stradivari’s early works, when he is embarking on some early experimentation having left the restraint of pupillage under Nicolo Amati. The Hellier uses a larger pattern than the Sunrise violin made two years earlier, but still precedes Stradivari’s development of his ‘long pattern’ design a little over a decade later. There are still many Amatise influences present, including the more full arching which provided a sweeter sound fitting of the Chamber setting of most of the music making of the time, with the development of Stradivari’s flatter profile that gives the more brilliant, full tone and immense projection not coming until well after he abandoned the ‘long pattern’ early in the 18th Century.

The inlaid pattern top and back of the ‘Hellier’ violin is consistent with that on all Stradivari’s decorated instruments. He uses an alternating pattern of circles and diamond shapes made from ivory pieces between the two purfling lines with a black mastic of powdered ebony and glue.

The decorations on the ribs and scroll of Stradivari’s instruments on the other hand show a variation. The 1694 ‘Spanish Court’ (or ‘Decorado’) cello, the 1696 ‘Spanish Court’ viola and the ‘Rode’ violin of 1722 all use the simpler technique of painting the ornamentation with black varnish. The ‘Sunrise’ 1677 violin, the Hellier 1679 violin, the Cipriani-Potter 1683 violin, the ‘Ole Bull’ violin of 1687, the Spanish I and Spanish II (1687-9) violins (which together with the Spanish Court 1696 viola and the Spanish Court 1694 cello form the Spanish Quartet) and the Greffuhle violin of 1709 were made using a more intricate technique. The designs were first drawn on paper patterns which were then traced onto the violin by producing a series of tiny holes, which were then dusted with graphite powder to make them visible. These points were then joined and gouged out before being filled with black mastic. Some of the paper patterns used to create these decorations still exist in the Museo del Violino in Stradivari’s home town of Cremona.

The ‘Hellier’ is a violin that has seen little ‘active service’ in the concert halls of the world in the hands of great virtuoso soloists or leading orchestra musicians.

Here is a rare recording of the violin in use:

It is named after the Hellier family, who probably purchased it directly from Antonio Stradivari. It remained in the family collection at Wodehouse country estate near Wombourne, in Staffordshire, UK, for nearly 200 years. Sir Samuel Hellier was a notable landscape designer and musicologist but was also the High Sheriff of Staffordshire in the middle of the 18th century, and it was probably he who brought the violin to England. The collection at Wodehouse also contained other Cremonese violins, with two being left by Sir Samuel’s uncle, Sir John Hellier in a will of 1719.

The Hellier first left the family collection in 1880 when it was sold by Colonel Shaw-Hellier who was commander of the Royal Military School of Music, only to repurchase it 10 years later. Colonel Shaw- Hellier died in 1910, to be inherited by his nephew who sold it to Oscar Bondy, a resident of Vienna. The violin came back to the UK in 1925 when it was purchased by former editor of the Shanhai Daily News, H.E. Morris. He died in 1944, when it was sold via the Hill dealership who had handled all the transactions of the violin to Rembert Wurlitzer, a leading violin dealer in New York. They retained it for 12 years and over the next 42 years it passed through a series of American owners until in 1998 it arrived in the hands of the famous ichthyologist, publisher and musical instrument collector, Dr Herbert R Axelrod. Since then it has remained a centre-piece of his collection – which also contains the Axelrod Quartet of Stradivari instruments comprising of the two inlaid violins ‘Ole Bull’ 1687, Greffuhle 1709, the Axelrod viola of 1696 and the 1688 Marylebone cello (together estimated to be worth in excess of $50 million) – and extensive enough to allow Herbert Axelrod to sell 30 ‘Golden Age’ instruments to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for $17 million, with Axelrod claiming that their value was $49 million. However, this turned out to be an exaggerated claim and they were subsequently valued at the $17 million paid.

The Hellier was loaned to the Smithsonian Institute from 1998 to 2003 and it is currently on display at the Museo del Violino in Cremona, as part of the Friends of Stradivari Project and Exhibition.


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I believe that every violinist should have access to a great sounding instrument capable of expressing the passion within them at an affordable price. It is my mission to bring instruments capable of doing this to young and mature musicians alike, so that they can develop to the maximum as a musician and bring the joy of their hearts to the world. All violins are personally selected by myself as instruments with great tonal qualities that I would be proud to own as my sole violin. Each is carefully checked for build construction and condition. Any restoration work is done by my professional luthier partner and instruments are fitted with high quality fittings and usually Evah Pirazzi strings (although this may vary according to what we determine best suits the particular instrument). This is backed by a 12 months maintenance free guarantee - that is to say that we will undertake any maintenance  required on your violin within this period free of charge. All that you need to do is bring/ship the violin back to us. All violins come to you fully set up to their optimum and ready to play. We regularly ship worldwide, FREE of charge to you and fully insured. It is my experience that it takes at least 3 days of exclusive playing of an instrument to get accustomed to and appreciate it; with 7 days being preferable and the minimum time that should be allowed for trial of an instrument. Most shops allow 7-14 days for returns on purchases. I wish my customers a great buying experience and to have total confidence in their acquisition and consequently I give a 30 DAY RETURN PERIOD with a full refund of the purchase price provided that it is returned in the same condition. Any quality violin is a substantial financial commitment and one that you want to be confident will not be a depreciating asset. I am confident that any violin that I sell will at least hold its value over many years if well looked after and the majority will actually gain in value - this has been the general trend over a long period of time. I am willing to take any violin that I have sold back should you decide to upgrade and will give you the full purchase price paid for it, provided that it has been well looked after. I am here to help as much for you post-sale as I am before. I love to help and willingly give advice, assistance, and share my expertise and experiences at any time. Stay in contact, be sure to sign-up for my newsletter.