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date: 29 January 2020

Bailly, Paul Joseph locked

  • Jaak Liivoja-Lorius
  • , revised by Philip J. Kass


(b Mirecourt, France, April 13, 1844; d Paris, Nov 20, 1907). French violin maker. He served his apprenticeship in Mirecourt with Jules Gaillard and Prosper Gérard, then worked for Nicolas Vuillaume in Mirecourt. In 1864 he went to Paris to join J.-B. Vuillaume’s workshop, remaining there until 1868; all his labels thereafter are marked ‘Elève de J.-B. Vuillaume’. He worked in Mirecourt (1868–9), Douai (1869–71), Mirecourt a second time, Paris, Brussels, London (1890–2), New York (1892–3), and Leeds (for Harry Dykes), finally settling permanently in Paris in 1898. He won a bronze medal at the Paris Exposition of 1878 and many others at expositions in Sydney, Melbourne, and other international fairs. He was succeeded by his daughter Jenny, who continued the workshop in Paris until 1935. Bailly was a prolific maker with an estimated output of more than 3000 instruments, mostly violins; his cellos are rare and his violas more so. The work is invariably clean and is usually patterned on either the Stradivari or Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ model. He made a few Maggini copies, these being of oversized body length and often fitted with an unusual, enclosed mechanical pegbox. The varnish on his average-quality instruments tends to be rather thin and is usually a dull chestnut-brown; on his better instruments it has a much livelier texture and can be a lustrous orange-red. He used a variety of printed labels, most of which are signed and list his medals won at various competitions. They are often numbered and signed inside the back adjacent to the soundpost position....

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