TBGS-Made Violin


Inspire young violinists and own a piece of TBGS musical history at the same time

A TBGS alumni would like to sell a beautiful violin made by a former TBGS teacher and has very generously offered to donate the proceeds of the sale to the Music Department, in order to inspire the next generation of TBGS violinists.

The donation would allow the department to purchase a range of good quality instruments, to be made available on loan to disadvantaged students, and to fund taster events for those interested.

Young students often give up because they aren’t able to produce a good enough sound on a cheap violin.  Enabling them to play better quality instruments would help them to persevere and develop the life-long love of the instrument that I have been fortunate enough to enjoy.

The maker, John Cottrill taught at TBGS between 1917 and 1934, and made this violin in 1924 during his time here.  He was a skilled enough luthier to be included in Henley’s Dictionary of Violin Makers.

I’ve played the violin and found it to have a good tone, despite being un-played for some time, particularly in the lower and upper registers.  As with any string instrument, this would improve with regular playing.  It would be perfect for an intermediate to advanced student, or for an amateur player looking to upgrade. It would be fantastic if it ended up in the hands of a TBGS student!

The violin has recently been refurbished, and is for sale for £3000, with the £2000 remaining after refurbishment costs coming to the school.

Below are some notes on the violin from a respected local luthier.  The image is of a different John Cottrill violin.

“The violin has a hand written label:

 Hand made on True Tone Principles by  

 J.Cottrill Torquay Zeta   1924

J Cottrill made violins between 1923 and 1936. Rather than numbering his instruments he gave each a letter of the Greek alphabet, Zeta being the sixth.   

The general quality of craftsmanship of this instrument, and the selection of tonewoods, is excellent. The back of this instrument is of two pieces of maple with fine regular flame. The ribs are of the same maple. The pegbox and scroll are of maple with a similar fine figure. The scroll is neat, 

symetrical and well proportioned. The belly of this violin is carved from fine grained spruce. The f holes are neatly carved, quite upright, with the lower wings fluted. Both plates are neatly inlaid with a single line of purfling set close to the edges. The beestings are elegant. This violin is finished with a soft warm orange­brown varnish over a golden ground, which is in very good condition with some fine craquelure.” 

If you are interested in purchasing this instrument and would like to view and play it, please contact me Chris Eastman (Head of Music):  ceastman@tbgs.torbay.sch.uk