In focus: an 1819 violin by David Stirrat

Stirrat-1

David Rattray examines an instrument by the Edinburgh maker

Born in Ayrshire in 1768, David Stirrat apprenticed as a joiner. Edinburgh records of 1792 indicate he married Mary Anderson at the age of 24. According to the Lanark Barony parish register, they were living in Port Dundas, Glasgow,from 1794 to 1795, when their sons John and William were respectively born.Exactly what work he was undertaking during this period is unclear, but it is probable he was already associated with violin making and had worked for an Edinburgh luthier.Given stylistic clues in his earliest work, this would point to Matthew Hardie, whoseown business was established at the Lawnmarket in the same year as Stirrat’s marriage.By 1811 Stirrat had relocated to Edinburgh, where he became established as a violinmaker working at several locations around the ‘Old Town’. He first advertised himself as a ‘Musical Instrument maker at 201 High Street’ in 1814. Between 1816 and 1823 hewas a ‘violin and violoncello maker’, at the head of Fleshmarket Close. His final listed business address was at 105 High Street. His own labelled instruments are not knownafter 1819, although his signature has been found on the underside of a Hardie-labelled violin of 1822. During his short career Stirrat produced mainly violins. Two cellos are also attributed to him, with no violas known.

Read more in The Strad’s December 2019 issue…

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe - online subscriptions from £4.50/month

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.

 

* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.