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2003/36/1 Viola with case, chin rest and cloth, spruce / maple / ebony / metal / synthetic / vinyl / nylon / fabric, made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1869. Click to enlarge.

Viola made by John Devereux

Made
John Devereux is one of the earliest violin makers known to have been working in Australia. He had a significant reputation and output from the 1860s to 1880s and was a contemporary of Australia's other great maker of this period William Dow, also of Melbourne. Born in England in 1810, it is thought that Devereux arrived in Australia in about 1854 from London where he had been working in the workshop of violin maker Bernhard Simon Fendt (1800-1852). He settled in Melbourne and operated a violin making business there until his death in 1883. Apart from violas he is known to have made violins, 'cellos and double basses. He was apparently an accomplished double bass player and performed regularly at Government House in Melbourne. After a visit to Australia by HRH Prince Alfred, The Duke of Edinburgh in 1867, Devereux used the inscription on his labels, "Violin and bass maker to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh". This was apparently after Devereux had met the Prince who was an accomplished violinist.

The museum also holds two violins made by John Devereux dating from 1869 and 1871.

Michael Lea
Curator, music & musical instruments
January 2003.

Summary

Object No.

2003/36/1

Object Statement

Viola with case, chin rest and cloth, spruce / maple / ebony / metal / synthetic / vinyl / nylon / fabric, made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1869

Physical Description

Viola, case and accessories, spruce / maple / fabric, viola made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1869.

Large bodied timber and maple viola. The viola features a spruce table and maple back, ribs, neck and scroll. The back of the viola consists of two pieces of timber with grain sloping downward from central join to outer edges. The sloping grain also features on the ribs. The viola has an ebony fingerboard and light coloured timber tuning pegs. These are tapered to metal tips and with screw running through peg. This appears to be a kind of string locking device to assist staying in tune. The instrument has an internal strut running between the upper and lower blocks, an original feature apparently used by the maker and often removed by subsequent repairers.

Accompanying the viola is a viola case, polishing cloth and piece of fabric, used as a cover for the viola.

Marks

Manufacturers mark on the inside of viola, handwritten on paper label in brown ink, 'Made by John Devereux / Violin and Bafs Maker to / his RH the Duke of Edinburgh / Melbourne 1869'.

Dimensions

Width

240 mm

Depth

100 mm

Production

Notes

The viola was made by John Devereux, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1869.

History

Notes

The viola was purchased and used by Martin Pierard while playing for the State Orchestra of Victoria, Australia.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased with the assistance of Mr Robert Albert, AO, 2003

Acquisition Date

10 March 2003

Cite this Object

Harvard

Viola made by John Devereux 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 4 March 2021, <https://ma.as/12083>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/12083 |title=Viola made by John Devereux |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=4 March 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}