John Betts

1752 – 1823


John Betts was born in Stamford, England, in 1752. He moved to London at the age of 12 to apprentice with Richard Duke. After many years working for Duke, Betts became the foreman of his workshop and eventually took over the business. In 1781 he established his own workshop. Betts hired many English luthiers that when on to achieve great success, including members of the Hill family (W.E. Hill and Sons). He made his own instruments as well as collecting and trading the work of old masters. Betts became known as an expert connoisseur and was partially responsible for developing the outstanding reputation of Stradivari instruments in London.

Because of his great knowledge of the history of violin making, Betts was an excellent copyist. His instruments reflect the same care and artistry admired in the cremonese masters. He most often worked from the Amati model. Betts was very careful in selecting and preparing his wood, and his craftsmanship is equally precise.