|Label of an 1841 Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume cello|
He was three steps removed from Stradivarius' workshop. After Antonius Stradivarius died, his entire workshop and remaining instruments were purchased by Count Cozio. Luigi Tarisio, an itinerant violin dealer purchased many instruments from Count Cozio and brought them to Paris. Vuillaume purchased many Stradivarius instruments from Tarisio. When Tarisio died, Vuillaume traveled directly to Italy to purchase his remaining collection of Stradivarius instruments. And other Cremonese instruments as well. Guaneris, Amatis, Bergonzis, Ruggieris, Rogeris and many more. Just about every Stradivarius and Guarnerius del Gesu passed through Vuillaume's shop at some point.
|Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume Cello, 1841|
Vuillaume had a very busy shop. He was working on instruments, doing repairs, buying and selling instruments, and schmoozing the elite of the string world. Did he huddle over a work bench knocking out instruments from start to finish by his own hand? Not quite. In the tradition of French violin shops he had a large number of workers, from apprentices to master craftsmen. Some of the violin makers that worked with J.B. Vuillaume are Paul Bailly, Telesphore-Amable Barbe', Charles Buthod, Auguste Darte, Alexandre Delanoy, Jean Joseph Honore' Derazey, George Gemunder Sr., Joseph Louis Germain, Charles Adolphe Maucotel, Maurice Mermillot, Ludwig Neuner, Hippolyte Silvestre, Charles Simonin, Nicolas Vuillaume and Nicolas Francois Vuillaume. All of these makers' instruments that were made in the Vuillaume shop (or made for him) bear J.B. Vuillaume's label. They are often numbered on the inside as well.
|Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume Violin, circa 1865|
And that was just the violin makers!
Vuillaume knew that without good bows, even the best of instruments would be plucked. Vuillaume brought into his workshop the best of the French bow makers, including Jean-Pierre-Marie Persoit, Dominique Peccatte, Jean-Joseph Fonclause, Nicolas Maline, Joseph Henry, Pierre Simon, Francois Peccatte, Nicolas Maire, Francois-Nicolas Voirin, Charles Peccatte, Jean-Joseph Martin, Charles-Claude Husson and Prosper Colas. All of these makers' bows that were made in the Vuillaume shop (or made for him) were stamped "VUILLAUME".
|Bows from the shop of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, stamped "VUILLAUME"|
That's a lot of names! Vuillaume was quite an exacting artiste and foreman. Just about everything the Vuillaume shop produced is outstanding in quality. But they are not the romanticized "one offs" of violin and bow maker legend. Many hands produced the instruments and bows with Vuillaume's name on them.
If you're wondering how much a certified, genuine Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume violin in good condition would be worth - $150,000 to more than $250,000 would not be unusual. Cellos would be substantially more. Vuillaume bows are highly valued as well. For bows, depending on how fancy the fittings, as well as certification and condition, the range would be anywhere from $15,000 to more than $80,000.
If you think you have found a real J.B. Vuillaume violin or bow, the answer is probably not. But if you need a definitive answer, I can do an appraisal for you in my shop or online.
|An early J.B. Vuillaume violin, made in Paris circa 1828|
|Violin by J.B. Vuillaume, made in Paris circa 1855|