A Fine French Violin by Nicolas Darche, Aix-La- Chapelle, 1843
This fine violin is by a maker whose work is little known and very rare but who, nevertheless, produced some extraordinary instruments. Nicolas Darche (b. 1815, d.1873) came from a family of French violin makers. He worked for N.F. Vuillaume in Brussels before opening his shop in Aix-la-Chapelle, France (now Aachen, Germany). Though a difficult life prevented him from succeeding in business into his later years, he left us with some extraordinary examples of French violinmaking such as this Guarneri model which draws much inspiration from his master, N.F. Vuillaume and from the great Nicolas Lupot as we see in the exquisite materials and superb red varnish on a golden ground which reflects very differently according to lighting conditions. The workmanship is superfine, crisp and clean throughout. This instrument is modeled on a Guarnerius and is of very comfortable dimensions. An interesting detail, and tribute to Darche's meticulous craftsmanship, is the square-shaped locating pin in the back which is bisected diagonally and made of two separate woods. This violin has incredible response, power and directness.
Darche Violin in Dramatic Lighting
Detail of the button and idiosyncratic locating pin