Often described as the most prolific violin maker in history, George Craske (1795–1888) is credited with making an estimated 2,600 instruments over his long career without assistance. He apprenticed as a young man with William Forster III in London before working for Thomas Dodd and Muzio Clementi. Craske shortly thereafter decided to leave London to pursue his own business, zigzagging his way across England to work in numerous locations.
After brief stays in Leeds and Sheffield, Craske traveled south to Bath where, through the acquaintance of Sir Patrick Blake, he gained the opportunity to study and copy masterworks by Antonio Stradivari and the members of the Amati family. He later relocated to Birmingham, where he would remain for over 20 years. In Birmingham, he is believed to have repaired the Guarneri del Gesù "il Cannone" violin, owned by Niccolò Paganini, who was performing on tour through Great Britain in 1831.
Craske moved further north to Manchester sometime around 1850, finally settling just outside the city in Stockport where he created an astonishing number of hand-crafted instruments. A visitor to Craske's small cottage reports seeing countless violins stacked inside, some stored within several topless double basses. Craske was eventually discovered by an instrument dealer, George Crompton of Manchester, who recognized Craske's talent and became a trusted friend and business associate. Crompton commissioned instruments from Craske to be sold by his son, Edward Crompton in Manchester and purchased numerous violins left unlabeled by Craske to sell to the firm of W. E. Hill & Sons in London.