Hippolyte Silvestre was born in 1827 near Nancy, France. He apprenticed at the Blaise workshop in Mirecourt in the early 1820s alongside his brother, Pierre Silvestre. Upon completion of his apprenticeship he moved to Paris in 1827 to work for J.B. Vuillaume, where he recieved significant training under Vuillaume’s expertise that would permeate his production for the rest of his career.
After two years with Vuillaume, Silvestre left Mirecourt to work with his brother in Lyon. Pierre and Hippolyte produced some of their best work during their years of collaboration and their firm, Silvestre Frères, was very successful. After 19 years working in Lyon, Hippolyte retired from the business and moved to Sommerviller. However, at the time of Pierre’s death in 1859, he began working again. Hippolyte ultimately passed down the workshop to his nephew Hippolyte Chrétien.
Hippolyte Silvestre made some of the finest instruments in 19th century France. He often copied Stradivari and Guarneri models, and his varnish is most often dark red. His work is sought after by professional musicians and collectors for its tone quality and outstanding workmanship.