In Focus: A 1909 violin by James W. Briggs

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David Rattray looks at this early twentieth-century violin by the British maker

James W. Briggs was born in Wakefield in 1855. He apprenticed as a violin maker in Manchester with William Tarr, famed for his numerous basses. Briggs later established his own workshop in Wakefield and his business received a boost in 1890 when he received a gold medal for craftsmanship at the Leeds Exhibition. In 1893 he formally relocated to prosperous Glasgow, where he remained until his death in 1935. His first shop was at 97 Cambridge Street, later moving to 122 Sauchiehall Street. His clientele included many prominent musicians of the day such as William Primrose, Fritz Kreisler, J. Scott Skinner and Pablo Casals…

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