The Forster dynasty of British violin makers began with John Forster in Brampton, England in the early 1700s, followed by his son, William Forster I (c. 1714-1801), maker of spinning wheels, gun stocks, and fiddles. His son, William II (1739-1808), played the violin and took up the violin making trade professionally to become the most prolific and important maker of the family. Known as Old Forster to distinguish him from his own son, William III (1764-1824), William II moved to London c. 1759, where he established a successful violin workshop crafting Stainer and Amati copies, popular among London virtuosi. He later began a music publishing business, in which he published works by contemporary composers, including many by Franz Joseph Haydn between 1781 and 1787. He and William III ran the famous Forster & Son shop until the formers death in 1808, when William III took over the business with his own sons, William IV (1788-1824) and Simon Andrew Forster (1801-1870). After the deaths of his father and brother in 1824, Simon continued to build instruments and also employed other luthiers in the Forster workshop, where this violin was made c. 1840. Simon is also known for co-authoring The History of the Violin (which includes an extensive history of the Forster violin making family) with William Sandys in 1864.
Forster workshop, London circa 1840 Red-orange varnish. 348mm. 4/4