Adam Whone has been in the violin trade for over forty five years. Since childhood he has played the violin on a regular basis and he believes this is an important aspect in understanding musicians and their instruments.
In 1972 at the age of 15 he was one of the very first intake of twelve students at the newly formed Newark School of Violin Making under tutors Maurice Bouette, Glen Collins and Wilf Saunders.
Following the 3 year course there he worked for a well known London violin firm as restorer until becoming a co-founder of Cranston Workshop with director Norelle Hardie and others in 1977. The shop in the famous Portobello Road quickly gained a reputation for excellence amongst many professional musicians not only for the standard of restoration but also for the many fine new instruments produced, combining experience from the firm W.E.Hill & Sons, the Cremona violin school and the Newark school.
From 1981, Adam Whone became independent and worked as restorer, maker and dealer from his premises near the Portobello Road in North Kensington.
In 1987 Adam Whone was able to take over the historic and widely renowned firm of E.Withers Ltd in Central London. The shop moved to new premises in Windmill Street, WI in November of 1991. During this time the firm continued to deal in instruments of the violin family and carried out excellent restoration work on many fine instruments and bows. In April of 1997, the shop finally closed for business in the West End after almost 230 years of trading.
However, this was not before celebrating its 150th anniversary at the Wigmore Hall in October 1996 with a sell-out concert(!) – and the writing of the fascinating book on the violin world in Soho during the 230 year history of the firm.
Adam Whone still owns the company and is now 'Adam Whone incorporating Edward Withers'. Acknowledged as one of the major London experts in his field, he carries out very much the same business as the old company; dealing in fine antique instruments and bows, high class repair and restoration, and providing a comprehensive service to all string players.
Edward Withers was the founder of the oldest existing violin shop in the UK. The original firm was founded as long ago as 1765 by Norris & Barnes which later became R. & W. Davis in 1818. Following the retirement of William Davis in 1846, the enigmatic Edward Withers took over the firm and so it continued in the same family for over 120 years until 1969 when the last Edward (they were called “Edward” to perpetuate the name) retired.
Amongst the great names associated with the shop are the fascinating and brilliant 19th century maker John Lott, the French emigre Charles Boullangier and his namesake Charles Maucotel to name just a few.
From 1969, Dietrich Kessler carried the torch and made great strides in further establishing the fine reputation of the company, particularly in the restoration department and the making of instruments of the viol family. Many fine antique instruments and bows of the violin family were also bought and sold during this time.
Mr. Kessler “retired” from shop life in 1987, and Adam Whone became owner/director, carrying on business in the same Wardour Street shop that had been the home of Withers since 1878. High class repairs, restoration and service to musicians carried on as did the expertise and dealing in fine violins, violas, cellos and bows.
In 1991 the shop moved for the first time in 113 years into fine new premises in Windmill Street, W1 where it continued very successfully until 1997 when the firm ceased to trade in the West End.
Edward Withers Ltd
230 Years of Violin Craft in Soho
Contact Adam Whone to order the book.
“Adam Whone’s tribute to the Withers family is a labour of love which adds considerably to the library of work published on the British violin-making tradition …….
…… [it] is a beautifully produced homage to his predecessors who founded and ran the Withers shop in London for 200 years. Although John Lott 11 is undoubtedly the best known figure to have been connected with the firm, many fascinating characters weave in and out of the story including Georges Chanot 11, George Wulme Hudson and the Vollers: in fact, all the great names associated with the marvellous reproduction instruments that were made in London at the end of the 19th century .. There are beautiful and clear colour plates provided of the work of the most important makers involved in the shop, and many fascinating archive pictures which bring this lively story into sharper focus. The book succeeds both as a piece of social and musical history and as a serious work of reference for the violin connoisseur.”
John Dilworth (U.K.) – courtesy of The Strad magazine