William Glenister

Highest auction price achieved
£ 4375.00

By William Meredith Morris

He was born on May 16, 1850, at Chenies, Bucks, and resides now at 23 Beak Street, Regent Street, W. The early years of his life were spent at Watford, Herts, the family having removed there when he was three years of age. His father was a gardener by occupation, and young Glenister also became a gardener on his leaving school, which was at a very early age. He remained among the " flowers, fruits, and trees " till he was twenty-two, when an opening occurred and was offered him in the corn trade. He availed himself of the opportunity, and he has followed that trade ever since, he being now manager of the firm into which he came twenty-seven years ago as apprentice. Not very long after he entered the corn trade, i.e. on July 3, 1875, Mr. Glenister was married to Jane, daughter of Mr. J. E. Chambers, of Stanstead, Kent, at Willesden Parish Church, Middlesex. In business, he is described as a gentleman actuated by the highest principles ; and in the home, as the embodiment of amiability and gentleness. Mr. Glenister works on the lines of Strad, Guarnerius, and N. Amati, but his "divinity" is the greatest of these three, and his prototype the great "Tuscan." His first fiddle was made in 1888, and was the result of a careful study of the masterly work of Mr. Ed. Heron-Allen. Since that date he has produced sixty violins and one 'cello. All these, with the exception of the first three or four, are fine instruments. The mere mechanical part of the work never offered much trouble to Mr. Glenister, for he ever had an aptitude for making little articles in wood. The outline of the Strad copies is exactly that of the "Tuscan," and the measurements are the maestro's to the nth. The model is a trifle flatter and more extended towards the margins, after the style of Maggini. The scroll is bold and masculine. The button is rounded, graceful, and lies evenly with the plane of the instrument. The sound-holes are a slight modification of those of Strad, and placed a shade nearer the edge. They are in perfect keeping, however, with the outline, and the effect, arising from their position and inclination in the subdued arching, is highly artistic. The purfling is inlaid perfectly and without a tremor. The back of one specimen examined by me was whole, the curl running at an angle of thirty degrees to the long axis, i.e. in the lower alternate angle of the left side. The " flame " was vivid and fairly broad. In another it was cut sur maille with the curl running " buttonwise." The pine was of close, even grain, and of excellent tonal qualities. Some of Mr. Glenister's best pine has been obtained from an old house in Beak Street, and although it is old and well past the age at which shrinking may be supposed to cease, still he leaves his plates thick and solid. Mr. Glenister used Whitelaw's varnish on his first efforts, and also Caffyn's ; but now he uses a varnish made by Mr. Urquhart, of Derby Street, Mayfair. This varnish gives highly satisfactory results. It is brilliant, transparent, and lasting. It does not chip, and it is tough and elastic. It has that undefinable, unctuous something about it, which is not seen every day in varnish except when you are in the goodly fellowship of the holy Cremonese. It is an oil amber one, and made in all the usual colours. Mr. Glenister uses, almost without exception, the golden brown, and the golden red. The tone is not a large one, but it has splendid qualities ; it is delicate, sensitive, and sweet.

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Price History

Type Title Sold Price
Violin 35.7 cm London, 1910 c. Wed 1st September 10 £ 600.00
Viola 41.5 cm London, 1908 Sat 1st March 08 £ 4375.00
Violin 35.6 cm London, 1922 Sat 1st July 06 £ 840.00
Violin 35.7 cm London, 1922 Sat 1st July 06 £ 840.00
Viola 41.5 cm London, 1914 Mon 1st November 04 £ 2629.00
Violin 1895 Tue 1st May 01 £ 1400.00
Violin 1912 Wed 1st November 00 £ 1093.00
Cello 1924 Mon 1st November 99 £ 2300.00
Violin 1906 Mon 1st June 98 £ 1035.00
Violin 1924 Mon 1st June 98 £ 1380.00
Violin 1917 Sun 1st February 98 £ 920.00
Violin 1918 Wed 1st October 97 £ 550.00
Violin 1924 Tue 1st July 97 £ 345.00
Violin 1911 Thu 1st May 97 £ 680.00
Violin 1915 Thu 1st August 96 £ 1955.00
Violin 1901 Wed 1st March 95 £ 1610.00
Violin 1912 Tue 1st February 94 £ 1955.00
Cello 1890 Mon 1st October 90 £ 1430.00
Cello 1928 Fri 1st April 88 £ 1500.00
Viola 41.6 cm 1917 Wed 1st August 84 £ 1078.00
Viola 41.6 cm 1900 c. Mon 1st November 82 £ 972.00
Violin Wed 29th October 14 £ 2250.00

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