Pierre Silvestre was born in 1801 in Mirecourt. At the age of 17, he began an apprenticeship under Mirecourt luthier Laurent Blaise alongside his brother, Hippolyte Silvestre. After finishing his training, he moved to Paris to work for Nicolas Lupot. Pierre was very strongly influenced by Lupot’s training and the Parisian workshop tradition that he had become immersed in. Lupot made many copies of Stradivari instruments, and Pierre found himself equally influenced by the work of the cremonese master.
After Lupot’s death in 1824, Pierre was employed by Charles François Gand. In 1829, he moved to Lyon to establish himself independently. He started his own firm, Silvestre Frères, alongside his brother. The two men produced some of their best work in collaboration and their business was very successful. Although Hippolyte retired in 1848, Pierre continued to work until his own death in 1859.
Pierre made around 350 instruments over the course of his career, and he was praised as an exceptionally talented luthier. Today, he is considered one of the finest luthiers of 19th century France.