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FORSTER William (F-51)

04/05/1739, Brampton, UK - 14/12/1808, London, UK

English violin maker. Though William Forster II was known as "Old Forster" to distinguish him from his son William III, he himself was the son of William Forster I, who is credited with the earliest surviving instruments by a member of the family. According to the thorough family biography composed by his grandson Simon Andrew Forster, William II made violins, along with spinning wheels and gun stocks, in addition to being a successful music publisher. He established his business in the 1760s, and by 1785 his son William III was assisting him in the shop, which became known as "Forster & Son." Simon Andrew Forster attested that William II produced three levels of instrument, the lowest of which resembles his father's undistinguished work, with painted purfling that in some cases has been replaced by the inlaid variety. The best of his work shows superior craftsmanship and a vibrant reddish-brown oil varnish. Stainer and Amati models, or some combination thereof, are most typical.

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