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date: 21 February 2020

Baker, Williamlocked

  • John Dilworth


(d 1685). English violin maker. He worked in Oxford at the end of the 17th century. The baptismal record of his first child in 1672 refers to him as ‘Mr Baker the fidell maker’, possibly the earliest reference to the profession in England. A cello attributed to the same year is thought to be the earliest surviving English cello, and in addition a small viola still in virtually original condition, once in the possession of the Oxford Music School and bearing a facsimile label of 1685, the year of his death, tells us much about the working practices of early English violin makers. The form of the instruments reflects Brescian patterns of more than 50 years earlier, with full archings and occasionally double purfling, but is probably derived more directly from the work of the Tyrolean-born violin maker Jacob Rayman, who worked in London from 1620 to 1650...

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