From the archive: a 1618 Henry Jaye viol


The work of British violin maker Henry Jaye is testament to the unsung tradition of viol making in 17th-century London. John Dilworth examines a strikingly varnished Jaye instrument from 1618

Dietrich Kessler will be remembered for many things by friends, musicians and instrument makers, but the legacy he himself was perhaps most concerned with was his superb collection of viols. The collection of wonderful instruments he gathered during his long career is unrivalled in originality and quality, and it is unique in representing the golden age of English viol making. It is hoped that these viols will be kept together and on public display as a memorial to Kessler, and as a permanent reminder of what is often overlooked – that from about 1550 to 1700, London was to the viol what Cremona was to the violin.

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