Bernhard Simon Fendt

By George Hart

He was evidently a born Fiddlemaker, genius being stamped in a greater or less degree upon all his works. To Thomas Dodd belongs the credit of bringing his talent into play. Dodd obtained the services of Fendt upon his arrival in England, which the latter reached at an early age. He remained with Dodd many years, frequently making instruments with John Frederick Lott. The instruments so made bear the label of Thomas Dodd. Lott being also a German, reciprocity of feeling sprung up between him and Fendt, which induced Lott to exchange the business to which he was brought up for that which his fellow countryman Fendt had adopted, and henceforth to make Violins instead of cabinets. By securing the services of these admirable workmen, Dodd reaped a rich harvest. He found in them men capable of carrying out his instructions with an exactness that could not have been surpassed. Dodd was unable to use the tools himself, but in Fendt and Lott he had men who were consummate masters of them. When the instruments were finished as far as construction was concerned, they were clothed in coats of the master's livery— "Dodd's varnish," the secret of making which he kept carefully to himself. With these coats of varnish upon them the work was doubly effective, and every point of excellence was made to shine with the happiest effect. Upon leaving the workshop of Thomas Dodd, Bernard Fendt worked for John Betts, making many of those copies of Amati which are associated with the name of Betts, and which have so high a value. Although Fendt was German by birth, his style of work cannot be considered as German in character. Having early quitted his post of trade in Paris for England, and having in this country placed himself under the guidance of Dodd, who steadfastly kept before his workmen the originals of the great Italian masters for models, his work acquired a distinctive stamp of its own, and in its turn gave rise to a new and independent class of makers.

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£ 3,125.00
Highest auction price achieved