Undated but circa 1850, hand-written label “Made by John Devereux”
John Devereux (c.1815 – 1883) was born in London, the son of a plasterer and initially learned also this trade. He subsequently trained as a violinmaker with Bernhard Simon Fendt. Fendt died in 1852 which, along with the cholera outbreak in London of 1854, and the Victorian Gold Rush may have catalysed Devereux’s decision to emigrate to Australia, where he settled in Melbourne.
This superbly made and sounding instrument is the finest we have ever seen by Devereux. Research on it by Benjamin Hebbert in London has concluded that this violin was probably made in Fendt’s workshop before Devereux left for Australia. Whether Devereux missed his mentor or had incomplete training is unclear, however the workmanship of Devereux’s instruments made in Melbourne are less refined, also their wood is generally inferior. The f-holes on this violin are curiously positioned, so should we assume that maybe Fendt was looking the other way when Devereux cut them? The violin has been restored by Philip Brown in Newbury, UK, and was set up by Yuri Djachenko and David Patterson with Evah Pirazzi strings. It will be sold with a Certificate of Authenticity from Benjamin Hebbert.