Arthur Richardson violin on show

Memories of Crediton violin maker Arthur Richardson

L-R: Violinist Keith Fulford, Sandra Cooper and John Heal at Crediton Museum.

On the 50th anniversary of Arthur Richardson's death in Crediton, Exeter violinist Keith Fulford has presented a framed picture of his violin made in the town by the celebrated violin and viola maker in 1935.  Born in Derbyshire, the son of an engine driver, Arthur Richardson became a talented wood carver following training at South Kensington School of Art. This led to work as an ecclesiastical wood carver, which brought him to Crediton to work for Dart & Francis around 1914. A violinist since his schooldays, he had begun to make violins as a hobby in 1912. Working from a wooden shed in the garden of his house, since demolished, in what is now Hunivers Place, local people soon observed his instruments drying on the washing line. Later he turned to violas and a collaboration with the celebrated viola player, Lionel Tertis in 1937 led to Arthur making the ‘Richardson Tertis’ viola.  He made over 500 violins and violas which are now highly sought after.  In 1961 Arthur Richardson received an MBE for services to music. A plaque commemorating his achievements is mounted on the rear wall of Crediton Library, overlooking the bowling green where he was a regular player.

Mr Fulford purchased his Richardson violin in 2014. He brought it to Crediton Museum recently to show Crediton Area History & Museum Society's chairman Sandra Cooper and archivist John Heal. He then presented them with a framed photograph of the violin and its features. Mrs Cooper said "We are very grateful to Keith for letting us have the lovely photo of his cherished violin and it will be on permanent display in the museum." Mr Heal said "As a young lad I well remember seeing those instruments hanging on Arthur Richardson's clothes line to dry. Little did I realise then what a craftsman he was and how highly regarded those instruments were to become."

1 December 2015