Arthur Betts I
Bow maker / Violin maker
(1775 – 1847)
Younger brother of John Betts, Arthur Betts was a good violinist and had lessons from Viotti himself. He famously bought the 'Betts' Stradivari violin for the sum of one guinea from a naive customer around 1820. Arthur managed the Betts shop after his brother's death in 1823, together with his nephew, Charles Vernon. New instruments ...Read More were supplied to the shop (which was renamed J. Betts & Co at this point) by a variety of London makers and are labelled and sometimes branded 'BETTS' accordingly. These were made to a range of qualities all the way from relatively inexpensive English instruments to some particularly noteworthy copies of fine Italian examples.
The early 19th century saw old instruments coming into England from Italy on a large scale, and the Betts workshop was heavily engaged in restoration. They are noted for the 'Betts Blush', an overall coat of red varnish that disguised varnish damage, hid restorations and homogenised non-original parts. Composite instruments from this period often reveal the hallmarks of this workshop. Arthur Betts' sons Arthur II and John II continued the workshop after his death, before finally closing it in 1867.
- The auction record for this maker is $23,537 in Nov 1986, for a cello.
- 2 auction price results.
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