Double bass made by John Devereux

Made by Devereux, John in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, [1856].

John Devereux is one of the earliest violin makers known to have been working in Australia and is seen as Australia’s first professional bowed string instrument maker. 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, Devereux arrived in Australia in 1854 from London where he had been working in the workshop of violin maker Bernhard Simon Fendt (1800-18...


A three string double bass made in European Spruce, Maple and Australian Cedar. The belly is made in two parts of European Spruce, the ribs are made of European Maple and the back is made in two pieces of Australian Cedar. The neck and decorative carved scroll are also made in European Maple. There are brass tuning machines and plates on either side of the peg box. The double bass is finished in an orange based, red brown spirit varnish. An early but non-original label is fixed to the inside.


1990 mm
655 mm
385 mm


John Devereux made this double bass in Melbourne, Australia in about 1856.

The exact number of instruments John Devereux made is unknown. Double basses made by Devereux both when he worked in London and in Australia survive, however, only five Australian made basses are currently known. Devereux also made violins, violas and cellos in Australia and examples of his work in general exist. He exhibited in a number of inter-colonial exhibitions and the catalogues of these mention the types of instruments he made. These catalogues also state that he used both European and Australian native timbers for his instruments.
Devereux, John [1856]


Purchased with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account and supporters of the Powerhouse Museum Foundation and the Pinchgut Opera, 2007
31 July, 2007

Cite this Object

Double bass made by John Devereux 2017, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 23 November 2017, <>
{{cite web |url= |title=Double bass made by John Devereux |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=23 November 2017 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}
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