The first documented maker of the celebrated Hill dynasty of English luthiers, Joseph Hill (1715–1784) was born in Alvechurch, England and moved to London around 1746. By 1753, he had established his own business, where he worked prolifically with his five violin-making sons, the most notable being Joseph Hill II (1745–1793) and Lockey Hill (1756–1810). In the following generation, Hill's grandson Henry Lockey Hill (1774–1835) would pass the tradition to his own son, William Ebsworth Hill (1817–1895), head of the most acclaimed violin company in London in the 19th century: W. E. Hill & Sons.
William E. Hill's own sons would carry the Hill name well into the 20th century as one of the most important in the history of violin making, as well as the oldest continuously running violin company in England; the venerable W. E. Hill & Sons workshop flourishes today in the historic Burgh House in Hampstead, London.
Based on primarily Stainer and Amati models, the instruments of Joseph Hill I are among the finest examples 18th century English lutherie.