Thomas (II) Dodd

Highest auction price achieved
£ 0.00

By George Hart

Son of Edward Dodd, of Sheffield. He was not a maker of Violins. Numerous instruments bear his name, but they are Violin, Violoncello the work of john Lott and Bernard Fendt. The merit of these instruments is of the highest order, and they are justly appreciated by both player and connoisseur. Thomas Dodd deserves to be mentioned in terms of high praise, notwithstanding that the work was not executed by him, for his judgment was brought to bear upon the manufacture during its various stages, and more particularly in the varnishing, in which he took the liveliest interest. He had a method of mixing colours, the superior qualities of which he seems to have fully known, if we may judge from the note on his labels, which runs thus: "The only possessor of the recipe for preparing the original Cremona varnish. Instruments improved and repaired." This undoubtedly savours of presumption, and is certainly wide of the truth. Nevertheless there is ample evidence that the varnish used by Thomas Dodd was very excellent, and had a rich appearance rarely to be met with in instruments of the English school. Dodd was encouraged in the art of varnish-making by persons of taste, who readily admitted the superior qualities of his composition, and paid him a handsome price for his instruments. He was thus enabled to gratify his taste in his productions by sparing no means to improve them. He ultimately attained such a reputation for his instruments as to command no less a sum than £40 or £50 for a Violoncello. Commanding such prices, it is evident that he spared no expense, or, what was to him a matter of still greater importance, no time. He was most particular in receiving the instruments in that incomplete stage known in the trade as " in the white," i.e., without varnish. He would then carefully varnish them with his own hands, guarding most warily the treasured secret of the composition of his varnish. That he never departed from this practice may be inferred from the fact that the varnish made by the workmen in his employ, apart from the establishment, for their own instruments, is of an entirely different stamp, and evidently shows that they were not in their master's secrets. The instruments bearing the Dodd label are not valued to the extent of their deserts, and there can be but little doubt that in the course of time they will be valued according to their true merits. They were made by men of exceptional talent, who were neither restricted in price nor material. Under such favourable conditions the results could not fail to be good.

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