Hel, (Pierre) Joseph
- Jaak Liivoja-Lorius
- , revised by Philip J. Kass
(b Mazirot, Vosges, France, Feb 8, 1842; d Lille, France, March 14, 1902). French violin maker. He served a seven-year apprenticeship at the Salzard atelier in Mirecourt and subsequently worked for two years with Sébastien Vuillaume in Paris and for one year with Nicolas Darche at Aix-la-Chapelle. He established himself independently in Lille in 1865, and four years later was named violin maker to the Conservatory. He was one of the leading 19th-century French luthiers, working in a neat, precise, and artistic manner, all details of his craft being scrupulously carried out. The varnish is generally a rich red-brown of fine clarity and brilliance. Tonally, his instruments rank with the best of the French school.
Pierre Jean Henri Hel (b Lille, 5 March 1884; d Lille, 13 July 1937), son and successor of Joseph, took over the shop in 1902. Before working with his father he served his apprenticeship at the Bazin atelier in Mirecourt. His work is quite similar to his father’s, although a little harder in appearance. He won several awards at competitions, including those at St Louis, Missouri (...