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date: 11 November 2019

Barbey [Barbay, Barbet], Guillaumelocked

  • Mary Cyr


(fl Paris, c1716–42). French string instrument maker. He was particularly well known as a maker of viols and his instruments are highly valued as examples of French craftsmanship. The viol virtuoso Marin Marais is known to have owned an instrument by him. A lengthy description of his talent and skill survives in the correspondence of Jean-Baptiste Forqueray (1699–1782). Writing in 1767 or 1768, approximately 25 years after Barbey’s death, Forqueray praised him as ‘the greatest builder we had for the shape, thickness and correct dimensions’ of the viol, and also commended his choice of English wood. Forqueray stated that his father, Antoine, had owned two instruments by Barbey, one for solo playing and the other for accompaniment; he played them for 25 years until his death in 1745, when the younger Forqueray took them over and praised their continuing improvement with age.

At least four bass viols by Barbey survive, all dating from about ...

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