Howarth (front).jpg

William Howarth  (1862-1935) was born in Kings Cross, Halifax in Yorkshire. Where he spent his early life is unclear but by 1886 he was living in Newton Heath, Manchester where he married and started a large family. The 1891 Census describe William as a Pattern Maker and in 1901, a Wood Pattern Maker. This was a very skilled job and his knowledge of tools and materials would have been high. Between these two dates Howarth made double basses. Where he learned the craft is unknown but the instruments are beautifully made and, as became apparent later, he could play them too. By 1911 his profession is listed as "Bandsman". This could have been a military title or simply, a musician. Interestingly his eldest son, Herbert, is also listed with the same profession. We next meet William Howarth in 1919 on the label of an instrument made in the area of Longsight, Manchester. Professional directories of this period list him as a Musician and he appears to have stayed in this area until his death in 1935. This particular bass was made in 1899. It is a fine orchestral instrument in excellent condition. It has acquired an extra coat of varnish but in all other respects is completely original.

Length of String 106.6cm                     

£75,000

Howarth (scroll)
Howarth (scroll)

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Howarth (front)
Howarth (front)

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Howarth (label)
Howarth (label)

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Howarth (scroll)
Howarth (scroll)

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Charles Corsby (front).jpg

The name of English maker Charles Corsby (1798-1864) is a relatively recent discovery. His older brother George was known to have been a maker/dealer based in London and was thought to have made a few instruments simply signed "Corsby". In fact both men were part of a large instrument making family in Northampton spanning four generations from the mid 18th century.

Charles Corsby never left Northampton and seemingly took or sent instruments to his brother to be sold in his London shop. This particular double bass was made in 1838 and is a beautiful example of the maker's skill. Such a shame that his unassuming mark in only some of his instruments have left Charles Corsby unrecognised until now.

This bass sounds as good as it looks and is in excellent condition.

Length of Back  113cm   Length of String  106.6

£60,000

Charles Corsby (back)
Charles Corsby (back)

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Charles Corsby (detail)
Charles Corsby (detail)

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Charles Corsby (scroll1)
Charles Corsby (scroll1)

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Charles Corsby (back)
Charles Corsby (back)

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James-Brown-(front).jpg

James Brown (1804 - 1885) lived and worked in Huddersfield, Yorkshire from the mid 1850s amd made this double bass in 1862 as is clearly stated on it's label. It was originally built with a long body but in 1965 double bass player and instrument maker Robert "Bob" Norris reduced the shoulders of the bass giving it a very manageable short scale length. A photograph of the bass in it's original form can be seen in Raymond Elgar's famous book, "Looking At The Double Bass". 

This instrument has been played all over the world in major London orchestras and is very reasonably priced for sale.

String Length  99.5cm.  Length of Back  113cm.

£59,000

James-Brown-(scroll)
James-Brown-(scroll)

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James-Brown-(back)
James-Brown-(back)

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James-Brown-(R.Elgar-book)
James-Brown-(R.Elgar-book)

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James-Brown-(scroll)
James-Brown-(scroll)

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Now at a reduced price, this is a typical example of big German 5-string basses favoured by the orchestras of that country and occasionally by bass players in the UK. Internally this instrument testifies to it's maker and date of manufacture, Mathias Neuner, Mittenwald 1884.

Mathias Neuner V (1831 - 1890) was a partner in the big Mittenwald firm, Neuner & Horsteiner and was also, at some point, Mayor of Mittenwald apparently.

This bass has a long and colourful history as described in a fascinating essay written by previous owner, Richard Bramhall (deceased) when he decided to sell the bass in 2001. Amongst other things it was played in the BBC Symphony Orchestra in the 1930s followed by many years at the Royal Opera House and then in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In the 21st Century it has been living and working in Wales.

The bass has lived a life and sounds as big as it looks.

 

String length 110cm. Length of Back 121cm.

Price on application

Mathias Neuner 1884 (back)
Mathias Neuner 1884 (back)

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Mathias Neuner 1884 (ribs1)
Mathias Neuner 1884 (ribs1)

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Mathias Neuner 1884 (front)
Mathias Neuner 1884 (front)

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Mathias Neuner 1884 (back)
Mathias Neuner 1884 (back)

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Booth Basso (front).jpg

This fascinating instrument by William Booth of Leeds (1779-1858) has an interesting history. In the early 19th Century an amateur cellist named Barraud developed an instrument designed to be tuned as a cello but an octave lower so as to play the double bass parts in chamber music. He commissioned various luthiers including Thomas Kennedy and Samuel Gilkes to make such an instrument which became known as a Basso di Camera. The instrument featured is beautifully made and is inscribed inside with the following:

           This Chamber Double Bass

           Made by Wm. Booth. Mill Hill, Leeds.

           In the year of our Lord 1821

           for Dr. Hay of Cambridge

           being the 3rd that has been known

           to be made in this country.

The current owner decided that a three string configuration suited them better but all four string fittings

accompany the chamber bass, as does a 1946 William A. Chanot certificate.

String length 72.5cm. Length of Back 80cm.

£30,000.

Booth Basso (scroll 1)
Booth Basso (scroll 1)

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Booth Basso (back)
Booth Basso (back)

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Booth Basso (wax seal)
Booth Basso (wax seal)

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Booth Basso (scroll 1)
Booth Basso (scroll 1)

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This is an excellent of example of a double bass from the workshops of Jerome Thibouville Lamy &Co. Made in the early part of the 20th century these instruments were produced from the hands of a number of instrument makers rather than an individual. Perhaps one carved the scroll while another made the table (front) of bass.

All were highly-trained, skilled workers and this is reflected in the quality of this instrument which, according to the labels, was manufactured in France and sold through the company's London shop in Charterhouse Street by Smithfield Market in the City of London

The bass has a big sound and is in very good condition.

Length of Back  113cm.  String Length  108cm.

£14,000

Lamy (back)
Lamy (back)

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Lamy (ribs)
Lamy (ribs)

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Lamy Labels
Lamy Labels

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Lamy (back)
Lamy (back)

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Bedingfield (front).jpg

English bass maker John Bedingfield (born 1933) sadly passed away on the 15th of June, 2020.

I only had the pleasure of meeting him two times in close succession a few years ago but what a fascinating man he was with his house full of basses and working wooden clocks, all hand made as were many of the tools he used for all this creativity, or so it appeared. He was quite a character and very welcoming. I'm glad I met him.

Generally Bedingfield's basses tend to be on the large size but this copy of an instrument by William Tarr of Manchester is a very neat model and easy to play. It is double purfled with an elaborate design on the back below the neck. 

String Length  103cm.  Length of Back  107cm

£11,000

Bedingfield (back)
Bedingfield (back)

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Bedingfield (scroll)
Bedingfield (scroll)

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Bedingfield (label)
Bedingfield (label)

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Bedingfield (back)
Bedingfield (back)

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