(1784 – 1870)
Thomas Kennedy was the oldest son of lesser British violin maker John Kennedy, from whom he probably learned the basics of his craft before being apprenticed to Thomas Powell in 1795. He worked briefly for William Forster III before setting up his own ...Read More workshop in London's West End, making instruments and bows. James Brown was his primary assistant, and many other outside makers produced bows for the shop, including Thomas Tubbs, and James and Edward Dodd. The shop relocated numerous times within London, and after 1853 Kennedy worked alone in various locations, presumably until his death in 1870.
While the quality of his work certainly exceeds that of his predecessors, Kennedy often worked very quickly and the overall standard is erratic. A number of bows bearing his brand remain, most with open trench ivory frogs. He used several varnishes for his instruments, a light alcohol-based one and others of a dark oil base prone to excessive craquel. Scrolls with deeply curved chins are a unique feature of his work. Cellos are especially prized, and are based on an abbreviated Amati pattern with long center bouts and flared corners.
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