Musical Instruments In The Ashmolean Museum

In 1936 the Hill brothers, Arthur and Alfred, offered the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford the gift of a choice collection of stringed instruments which they had assembled over many years. Alfred and Arthur were sons and successors of William Ebsworth Hill (1817-95), who founded the great firm of violin makers, restorers and dealers, W.E. Hill & Sons, in 1880.

It was in the course of restoring ancient instruments that the Hills became increasingly aware of the damage that was being inflicted by constant playing. This gave rise to the idea of selecting a group of exceptional instruments and setting them aside in a museum where they would be protected from further wear and tear. After the war the gift had grown from the original 19 instruments presented in 1939 to include the 'Messie', given in 1940, and three outstanding violins, the 1618 violin by the Brothers Amati, the inlaid Stradivari and the Nicola Amati of 1649, given in 1948, in accordance with the wishes of Alfred and Arthur Hill, by the new owner of the Hill firm, Albert Phillips Hill.

The bows followed in 1948, along with a cittern and five English guitars. This extensive catalogue contains a high level of recent research into this incredible collection and featured newly-commissioned photography illlustrating each instrument in fine detail.

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An extensive catalogue of research into this incredible collection.
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