St George

I have been asked many times why an instrument as appealing as the viola d'amore died out. And I have usually answered that it didn't. This page is evidence in the first decades of the 20th century, to support my assertion.

The more I learn about the history of early music, the farther back it seems to go. Here is an image of the George St. George, on the left, and his son Henry:

Photo: Collection Joseph Peknik III

George St. George was born in Leipzig in 1841. He moved to London in 1862. He made violas d'amore, and also edited viola d'amore music. His instrument restoration work can even be seen in the Hart House Collection of viols here in Toronto; he repaired one of these viols and put a lable in at that time. (This collection of viols can be heard on a recent cd.) His son Henry was editor of The Strad for a period, and also author of The Bow, its History, Manufacture and Use (London, 1909.)

 

Update July 2019

Recently I have had the opportunity to get to play at St George viola d'amore. Here is a link to pictures of it.

St George attached the neck to the body with a dovetail. And he got the neck on crooked. Well, he was 71.

But the instrument sound good, as you can hear in the first movement of this video.

It is also the most stable viola d'amore  I have used, from the point of tuning. I think that may be due to the post through the tailpiece type of tailpiece attachment. There are more violas d'amore from this period, with more refined versions this same kind of attachement.