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Sydney event - help the powerhouse purchase a Devereux bass

Discussion in 'Basses [DB]' started by Matthew Tucker, Oct 29, 2006.


  1. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1] Powerhouse Museum

    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Sunday 19 November
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-2]3.00pm[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [​IMG] [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Duelling Double Basses
    John Devereux is Australia’s earliest known professional bowed string instrument maker, and a Devereux double bass dating from 1856 has been offered for sale to the Powerhouse Museum. The acquisition of the Devereux double bass will complement the Museum’s existing collection of Devereux instruments, two of which are currently on display in Inspired! Design across time. You can help us to purchase this important instrument simply by enjoying an afternoon of fabulous music by Kirsty McCahon and Kees Boersma, two of Australia’s most highly-regarded double bassists performing with the Pinchgut Opera. Afternoon tea will be served following the concert. [/SIZE][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Cost: $40 (all proceeds go directly to the purchase of the Devereux double bass)
    Bookings essential on 02 9217 0600.
    [/SIZE][/FONT]

    Sunday 19 November 2006 at 3pm
    500 Harris Street Ultimo, Sydney

    I spoke to the curator of the museum collection, and he told me the Devereux 3-string bass being played at the concert is made with spruce top, maple sides and an Australian cedar back.

    If you're going, let me know and we can have a chat after the event.
     
  2. Matthew Tucker

    Matthew Tucker Commercial User

    Aug 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Owner: Bresque Basses, Sydney Basses and Cellos
    From the abcviolins website

    http://www.abcviolins.com/devheaps.html

    "Devereux is considered to be the first trained violin maker to work successfully in Australia. Prior to this there are only sporadic references, such as a record of a label in a violin stating: 'Repaired by Patrick Murphy, Harp, Serpent and Violin Maker, Clarence St, Sydney, 1817', or the mention of an early free settler, Daniel Dering Mathew, who made a violin entirely from native timbers and sent it to the colonial secretary in 1823. William Henry Dow might also be thought to have some claim, as he too arrived in Melbourne in 1854, but he is not known to have been a trained maker and his occupation was recorded as pattern maker at various times throughout his life.
    Devereux is said to have trained in the workshop of Bernhard Simon Fendt, who had learnt initially with his father in John Betts's workshop and later worked in partnership with Charles Joseph Farn and then George Purdy. Both Fendt and his 19-year-old son, who was working with him as an assistant, died in 1852. By all accounts Devereux would have had a good teacher, as Fendt's workmanship is highly rated, although his ethics may not have been quite up to a similar standard.
    According to W. Meredith Morris in British Violin Makers (1920), Fendt was 'as clever and ingenious a workman as ever handled gouge and callipers in this country, and, in my opinion, as unscrupulous as he was clever'. This must have been a family trait, as Morris adds, 'All the Fendts were counterfeiters, more or less - generally more, not less - and in so far as they departed from the paths of "righteous dealing", they deserve nothing but the execration of posterity and the contempt of the historian, their cleverness notwithstanding. Cleverness does not atone for fraud.'
    What Devereux thought of the Fendts' counterfeiting activities is not known, but it is evident that he did not follow in their footsteps and stray from the 'path of righteous dealing' - there is no chance that his instruments would be mistaken for the works of the classical masters. Devereux included his own innovations, most notably a tension bar that connected the top and bottom blocks internally, supposedly to help the instruments cope with the rigorous conditions they would encounter in the colonies.
    Devereux is best regarded today for his basses, though he also made violins, violas and cellos. He was an accomplished bass player and perhaps felt more comfortable with building the larger instruments as his violins were made with what Henley's Universal Dictionary calls 'rather excessive proportions'. One example in the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, dated 1869, has a back length of 376mm, while another 1871 violin is a more modest but still large 361mm. However, both instruments show a control and harmony that indicates a trained and highly competent maker."

    The following image is one I found in a brochure of one of four known Devereux basses made in Australia - but it's not the one being played at the concert. However the one to be played at the concert is also a three-stringer with the special internal bracing.
     

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  3. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Jan 15, 2021

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