Derazey Violin

Derazey Violin

<< >>
Usage conditions apply
This violin was made by Honoré (Jean Joseph) Derazey in Mirecourt, France around 1880. Interest on the part of J.B. Vuillaume to make exact visual replicas of important Cremonese violins led to a commission for his copying an ornamented viola da gamba attributed to Gaspar Tieffenbrucker (Lyon, ca.1514-1571). The instrument, decorated on the back with marquetry inlay showing a scenic city landscape of Paris along with religious symbols and icons, led Vuillaume to make decorated copies of violins in similar ornamental style after 1827. By 1830, Honoré (Jean Joseph) Derazey (1794-1883), also from Mirecourt and working in Paris, joined the Vuillaume workshop and became the maker of many Gaspar da Salo decorated copies, known as the ornamental "Duiffopruggar" violins of J.B. Vuillaume.
Derazey later returned to Mirecourt to become an award-winning maker in his own right, with a fine reputation for copies of Stradivari, but continuing production of ornamental violins as well. His son
Justin Derazey (1850-1890) worked and continued the family business, being joined by Paul Mangenot and later by Laberte-Hubert Freres who by 1920 held title to Nicholas ainé, Derazey and other brands. Instruments like this violin branded “H. Derazey” are probably from the commercial collaboration of Honoré with his son in the Mirecourt workshops, ca. 1880.
This violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce, one-piece back of maple cut on 45° with even, medium-fine figure descending to the right, ribs of similar maple, an original maple neck terminating in a pegbox and bearded male head with laurel wreath, and a semi-transparent yellow orange-brown varnish.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Derazey, H.
Place Made
France: Grand Est, Mirecourt
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 24 1/2 in x 8 1/4 in x 4 in; 62.23 cm x 20.955 cm x 10.16 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Sandra Ottenberg in memory of Matilda Marcus Newman
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


I owned a Desarey in the 1970s after deciding to be serious about playing as a career and I loved both the sound and the feel. H Desarey’s violins have a (very slight) longer neck so fingering takes some getting used to.. H Desarey’s violins have a distinctly warm quality. For health reasons I had to stop playing in my 20s but have recently been able to play again. I looked into a multitude of violins in my price range and kept coming back to the same maker. I don’t own his ornate instruments so for me the genius is in the beautiful and forgiving sound.
"I am fortunate to have two of his instruments - carved heads, village on the back, Latin on the edges, etc. Very proud of them."
I've had 6 of them, but have kept 4. They seem balanced and play even on all 4 strings.

Add a comment about this object