Saunders, Wilfred G.
- Laurence Libin
(b Nottingham, England, Sept 1, 1927; d Nottingham, Aug 4, 2004). English violin maker. He was a joiner’s apprentice when, at age 16, he began playing the violin and made himself one, guided by E. Heron-Allen’s Violin Making as it Was (London, 1884). Self-taught but talented, he turned to making violins and violas full-time at age 21 and soon gained support from prominent players, notably the violists Lionel Tertis and Peter Schidlof. Saunders developed Arthur Richardson’s design of a viola for Tertis, first producing very large instruments that proved difficult to hold. From this he developed his own large model, with short corners, low arching, and Guarneri-style scroll and f-holes, a pattern he then maintained throughout his career. Eventually he made 164 violas, 52 violins, and five cellos, all of them named and many of them used by professional orchestral players. Saunders did not slavishly copy old models or ‘antique’ his instruments, preferring a new appearance. One of his violas received a silver medal in ...