Violin case belonging to John Tiplady Carrodus - Object of the month

Cliffe Castle Museum

January 2016

This month’s object has been selected by Oscar, who is our our Community Music Events intern and based at Cliffe Castle, Keighley.

He writes:

As a musician, I was naturally drawn towards the huge amount of musical heritage in Cliffe Castle Museum.

The music room near the entrance is filled with fascinating objects such as a hand-cranked music box, a cello and an orchestral harp, and there are books full of sheet music collected throughout the Butterfield family’s time here.

One item that really caught my eye was this traditional violin held in the Keighley Stories gallery next to the portrait and violin case of John Tiplady Carrodus, a distinguished Keighley violinist and reportedly one-time owner of one of the world’s most expensive violins – made in 1743 by the famous Giuseppe Guarneri and worth upwards of $10,000,000.

This violin, while certainly far from that kind of value, appeared to be related to Carrodus as it bears the name William Ewart Carrodus, which I assumed was his son who was referred to as William on another item in the gallery.

I was hoping that anything belonging to such a prominent musician or his immediate family must have been of very high quality.

However, upon looking into the background of the violin we found that this was actually a complete coincidence and there is in fact no relation between the two. It just so happens that there was a notable violinist and a luthier (someone who makes or repairs string instruments) from the same area a few years apart who shared a surname!

Despite the lack of a connection to the famous Carrodus beyond the name, it is still interesting to see such an instrument that was made in Keighley. There is very little information available about William Ewart Carrodus as far as I can tell, so it seems he may not have been a highly renowned figure in the musical world, at least beyond the local stage.

The violin is dated 1931 and appears to be well-made and in working condition, and there is mention of a number of them made by Carrodus though no record seems to exist of where those ones might be nowadays.

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