The Newark School of Violin Making has trained many of the best violin makers worldwide over the last 50 years. It was founded by Maurice Bouette, who had himself learnt violin making at evening classes in London run by William Luff; in time he took over the teaching of these classes himself.
When the idea of setting up a violin making school at Newark was mooted, Maurice spent some sleepless nights wondering if he should apply to run it. He decided to take the plunge, and the rest is history.
I have a connection with the Bouette family in more ways than one. One of my longest-standing friends married Martin, Maurice’s son. Sadly Martin died in 2017 aged only 65. When Susan was going through all the instruments and materials that Martin left, she came across this cello which she generously gave me to finish and sell. The proceeds will go to the RAB Trust, the charity I chair which supports student violin makers.
Maurice had made this cello in 1965, while he was in his early 40s, living in London and before he founded the school at Newark. It had been finished at some time, you could tell that a bridge had stood on it, but he must have been unhappy with the varnish as it had been stripped, and languished unfinished and unplayed since, I guess, well before his death in 1992.
It has been a nice job to varnish and finish the cello. After all these years, the wood had become a lovely golden colour, so that was a good start. I put on three coats of a warm reddy-brown varnish and set it up carefully. The sound is good; even, well-balanced, with a lovely warmth and clarity all the way up the A string; focussed and responsive on the C. It would make a great instrument for a talented teenager or a serious amateur.
The cello was sold in April 2022 through Stamford Strings in Lincolnshire.