After the turn of the century, in a small village near Mirecourt, France, noted violin maker Charles Delignon had a son. Young Louis grew up at the feet of his father, spending his childhood among the maple shavings and ebony dust. He started with simple jobs, roughing-out backs and sweeping the floors, but quickly grew in talent and skill. From his fathers bench, he went on to study with a ‘who’s who’ of the French violin world…Georges Apparut, Lucien Francais, Louis Billotet and Collin Mezin. He was only 27 years old when he struck out on his own to establish a workshop. This violin is a warm, chocolate brown with a stunning one-piece back and has a tone every bit as rich as the makers heritage.
The smell of river water and fresh bread filled the air as Dixie and Roland Huthmaker boarded the boat for an evening river cruise. It was the South of France and they were there as guests of the French government, on an ‘invitation only’ trip for select American violin shop owners. For three days, they had toured workshops and ateliers, surrounded by stacks of bending violin ribs, half-carved tops and hand tools that had been passed down through the generations. The pace was fast and the schedule full as they greeted maker after maker. The trip was winding to a close and as the boat rolled gently, they quietly talked about the day’s happenings. This was the day that the Huthmaker’s met Marcello Zerelli. A kind, dark-haired man who has studied in both France and Italy, Marcello stood out among all the makers with his warm smile and gentle nature. And then he won them over by simply handing them a beautiful violin. Roland played it and smiled as he said, ‘This violin is going home to the United States with us.’ After placing it in our safe for many years, Roland has finally decided to bring it out. The violin still sounds as sweet as it did that day in France, a sound reminiscent of the warmth of an Avignon evening on the Rhone river.