Birth : 1798 in Mirecourt (Vosges) Death : 1875 in Paris (Ile-de-France)


Certainly in a different way but together with Nicolas LUPOT, Jean-Baptiste VUILLAUME is the foremost French violin maker.


Issued from a family including violin makers as far as the fourth generations (Claude Nicolas François VUILLAUME, 1715-1785), he started his apprenticeship in 1813 with his father, Claude François VUILLAUME.
In 1817, he joined the workshop of Nicolas-Eugène SIMOUTRE , in Mirecourt before coming to Paris in 1818 to help François CHANOT to the production of the Guitar-shaped violins.

Partnership with Nicolas Antoine LÉTÉ
In 1825, Jean-Baptiste VUILLAUME became partner of Nicolas Antoine LÉTÉ, who has established an association with François CHANOT to produce the new shaped instruments. He took in charge the direction of one of the two shops of the firm at 30, rue Croix-des-Petits-Champs.

This association lasted until 1827 and, in 1828, Jean-Baptiste VUILLAUME settled his own firm at 46, rue Croix des Petits Champs. This is around that date that he started to give his instruments the look of the old Cremonese violins. He stayed this same place during thirty years until he retired in 1858 to the property he bought in 1843 and was already living from several years at 3, rue Demours aux Ternes, where he continued to produce instruments and bows.

Works, labels & brands
Jean-Baptiste VUILLAUME started to sign and numbered his instruments as soon as 1823.
Instruments bear generally the small brand « VUILLAUME », one centimetre long, usually stamped to the inside table. In general instruments are numbered, but they can bear only the label of the model after which they have been made. He used a handwritten label approximatively up to the violin n° 30. Then, he used three different printed labels, two at rue Croix des Petits Champs, the third one at 3, rue Demours-Ternes. Many violins, particularly the earlier ones, bear an ink signature or an autograph, with the two last figures of the date. The production number can be found too, nearly always placed in the middle of the inside back, not far from the sound post. From 1830 to 1841 signature and numbers are not still visible. His name only, stamped to the inside with the small stamp, can be found.
After 1841 he signed and numbered again his production. It's generally acknowledged that more than three thousand instruments came out of Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume's workshop.
Beside his production, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume marketed another type of instruments, mainly violins and few cellos, known as « St. CECILE DES THERNES » which name belongs from Sainte Cécile, the Saint Patron of musicians and "Les Thernes", from the property he owned in that place, still a village outside Paris at that time. These instruments were made at Mirecourt by his brother Nicolas, mainly after the Stradivari pattern, very few after Guarneri, and varnished in J.B's. A transfer was placed under the varnish at the top of the back, showing Sainte Cécile playing the viol. These instruments are generally coated with an orange-red vanish, sometimes of a transparent and rich consistency, sometimes of a darker, muddy and less attractive quality. Another type of violins were manufactured by Nicolas VUILLAUME under the name of STENTOR, the quality being more ordinary than the «St. Cecile». These violins bear the Stentor brand inside and the Stentor crest at the back of the head. This production is divided in Stentor 1 or 2 depending on the quality. They are made after Guarneri or Stradivari pattern and one can find some cello of this type as well.

Collaborators for violins
- BAILLY Paul, (1864 to 1868)
- BARBÉ Télesphore, (1845 - ?)
- BUTHOD Charles, (1830 to 1840)
- BUTHOD Nicolas,
- DARTE Auguste,
- DELANOY Alexandre, (1867 to 1870)
- DERAZEY Honoré, (1830 to 1839)
- GERMAIN Joseph-Louis, (1845 to 1850)
- LOTTE Georges.
- MAUCOTEL Charles Adolphe, (1839 to 1844)
- MERMILLOT Maurice, (c. 1855)
- NEUNER Ludwig, (1860 to 1867)
- PACHEREL Pierre,
- SILVESTRE Hippolyte, (1827 to 1831)
- SIMONIN Charles, ( ? to 1841)
- VUILLAUME Nicolas,
- VUILLAUME Nicolas-François (- to 1828),
- VUILLAUME Sébastien (nephew). (1853 to ? )

Collaborators for bows
- BAUSH Ludwig-Christian,
- FONCLAUSE Claude Joseph,
- HUSSON Charles-Claude,
- JACOBSEN Thomas,
- LENOBLE Auguste,
- MALINE Guillaume,
- MARTIN jean-Joseph : from 1858 to 1863.
- NURNBERGER Johann Christoph,
- PECCATTE Charles,
- PECCATTE Dominique,
- PECCATTE François,
- PERSOIT Jean, Pierre, Marie,
- POIRSON Justin,
- SIMON Paul,
- VOIRIN Joseph,
- VOIRIN François Nicolas.

Awards and medals
- 1827, Silver medal at the National Paris exhibition of the Industrial work.
- 1834, Silver medal at the Paris Exhibition.
- 1844 and 1849, Gold medal at the Paris National Exhibition.
- 1851, Council medal at the International London Exhibition.
- 1855, Gold medal at the Paris International Exhibition.

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