W.E. Hill & Sons
W. E. Hill & Sons (1887–1992) was a London-based firm that specialised in violins and other string instruments, and bows. It was also known as William Hill & Sons or William E. Hill & Sons.
Founded by William Ebsworth Hill at 38 New Bond Street, London in 1887, the name W. E. Hill & Sons built on a long family history of violin making, going back to William Ebsworth's great-grandfather, Joseph Hill. The firm soon gained a widespread reputation for excellence in repairs, making of instruments, bows, cases and fittings, as well as instrument identification and authentication. A Hill's Certificate of Authenticity was considered definitive worldwide throughout the firm's history.
Many fine craftsmen worked for the firm. For much of the 20th century, the Hill workshop employed England’s best bow makers, who created bows renowned for character and consistency. Hill violins, cellos and cases are also highly regarded. Their other famous products included varnish cleaner, violin e-strings, and books about violin-making families.
W. E. Hill and Sons ceased operation in 1992.
Auction record prices
- New York, October 16, 2013 – Tarisio Auctions, (New York) Violin Bow CHARLES LEGGATT FOR W.E. HILL & SONS, c. 1905 ex-Aaron Rosand mounted in Gold/Tortoise-Shell with fleur-de-lys motif US$15,600
- London, Oct 7, 2010 – Sotheby's of London Lot 35 Violin Bow, World Record for a Hill violin bow $15,899 £10,000 €11,538
- New York, Oct 18, 2009 – Tarisio Auctions Lot 414 Cello, 1893, World Record for a Hill Cello $54,000 £33,366 €36,311
- London Mar 11, 2008 – Sotheby's of London Lot 129 Cello Bow, World Record for a Hill cello bow $18,788 £9,375 €12,257 Filimonov Fine Violins
Hill & Sons apprentices
- Sam Allen (b. 1838 – d. 1914) – no marking
- Brian Alvey – marked 15
- Leslie Bailey (b. 1919) – marked 4
- Arthur John Barnes (b. 1888 – d. 1945) – marked 5
- Edgar Bishop (b. 1904 – d. 1943) – marked 2
- Arthur Brown (b.? – d.?) – marked 10 or X
- Arthur Bultitude (b. 1908 – d. 1990) – marked 6
- Arthur Copley (b. 1903 – d. 1976) – marked 1
- William Grieve Johnston (b. 1860 – d. 1944) – his bows before 1904 were marked with downward nicks in the head mortise, after 1904 the nicks became horizontal.
- Albert Leeson (b. 1904– d. 1946) – marked 3
- Charles Leggatt (b. 1880 – d. 1917) – marked with two nicks in the centre of the mortice
- Frank Napier (b. 1884 – d. ?) – marked with a pattern of three leaves
- William Napier (b. 1848 – d. 1932) – no marking
- Colin G Nicholls
- William Charles Retford (b. 1875 – d. 1970) – marked with single dot
- William Richard Retford (b. 1899 – d. 1960) – marked with two dots
- Arthur Scarbrow (b. ? – d. ?) – marked 0
- Malcolm M Taylor (b. 1933 – d. ?) – marked 8
- James Tubbs (b. 1835 – d. 1921) – no marking (sometimes double stamped)
- William Watson (b. 1930) – marked 7
- Sydney Yeoman (b. 1876 – d. 1948) – marked with a single nick in the lower mortise
- Hill, W. H.; Hill, A. F.; Hill, A. E. (1909). Antonio Stradivari: His Life and Work, 1644–1737. London: W. E. Hill & Sons. OCLC 47174898.
- Hill, William Henry (1932). The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family: Their Life and Work. London: W. E. Hill & Sons. OCLC 23741230.
- W.E. Hill & Sons (1976). The Tuscan and the Messie. London: W. E. Hill & Sons. OCLC 3225254.
- The Guitar (From The Renaissance To The Present Day) by Harvey Turnbull (Third Impression 1978) - Publisher: Batsford. Images from the W. E. Hill & Sons Collection: plate 22c (Guitar by Alexandre Voboam dated 1652) and plate 23a/b/c (Chitarra Battente by Jacobus Stadler)
- Henley, William (1973). The Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers (2nd ed.). Brighton: Amati Pub. Ltd.
- W.E. Hill & Sons (A Tribute)- Richard Sadler 1996 ISBN 0-9504357-2-4
- W.E. Hill & Sons (A Tribute), Richard Sadler 1996 ISBN 0-9504357-2-4
- Giovanni Paolo Maggini: His Life and Work (1892) Henry, Arthur & Alfred Hill
- Hill Bows
- Pegturning tales (from The Strad)DEAD LINK
- Books on W E Hill & Sons (Ealing Strings)
- Internet edition of the Hills' book on Stradivari (Cello Heaven)
- Anecdote about William Hill identifying a Stradivarius from an interview with Henry Brant
- Example of a Certificate of Authenticity
- W.E. Hill & Sons: on the Mt. Parnassus of the art of violin making