A magnificent violin by Joseph Pierre Hel based on a Maggini model made in Lille, France, in 1897, numbered and with written inscription to the back number 453.
Joseph Pierre Hel began his apprenticeship at the age of fourteen in Mirecourt with François Salzard with whom he worked for five years.
From 1861 to 1865, HEL worked with different violin makers or manufactures, sometimes for a very short period such as Didier Poirot in 1861, Grandjon Fils in 1861, Labert Humbert in 1861 and 1862, Sébastien Vuillaune in 1862 and 1863), E Henry-Martin in 1863, Nicolas Darche in 1864, and Labert Humbert again.
At the advice of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, Hel came to Lille in November 1865 to establish his own workshop. There he became the luthier of the Conservatory of Music.
Joseph Hel achieved a great reputation for his copies of the italian masters such as Stradivari, Amati, Guarneri and Maggini. He coated instruments with a red-orange or red-brown rich varnish. His production includes all the instruments of the string quintet.
Hel's production is estimated at more than 750 instruments. During his professional life his reputation spread out of France with customers in Belgium, Switzerland, USA where he went two times and particularly Great Britain, where he worked closely with the HILL family.
Joseph Hel's instruments are stamped to the outside lowest rib, under the button J. Hel à Lille.
or J. Hel stamped two times on both side of the lowest rib joint.
Jean Pierre Hel, Joseph Hel's son succeeded him after his passing.
Awards & medals
-Gold medal at the 1880 Lille, 1882 Lille, 1885 Antwerp, 1886 Liverpool, 1889 Paris International Exhibitions.
-Diploma of Honor at the 1897 Brussels International Exhibition.
-Great Prize at the 1900 Paris International Exhibitions.