The Makers

Thomas Kennedy

1784 - 1870

Kennedy was taught by his father, John, and apprenticed to Thomas Powell.

John had been a pupil of his uncle, Alexander, who was taught by Nathaniel Cross. Thomas Kennedy probably began his professional life as an out worker for William Forster III around 1802-4.

He had set up on his own account, at 16 princes Street, by 1804 with James Brown as his assistant. Kennedy’s connection with the Forster family continued with William Forster IV working for him around 1810-13.

By 1816 he was retailing from 364 Oxford Street, this lasted until 1849 when, briefly, he ceased trading under his own name. He seems to have worked for Goulding, D’Almaine & Co., until 1853 when he returned to business on his own account.

He was one of the most prolific English cello makers of the period. The quality of his cellos varies from unpurfled, spirit-varnished instruments of simple materials to fine, oil-varnished examples; though varnish alone is not necessarily an indicator of the quality of his work. Many are on a small- size Amati model much used in England at this time though he also made on a Stradivari model, the scrolls have little to do with either master; the best are distinctively his. Some of the oil- varnished cellos are extremely dark brown and exhibit extensive craquelure. His double basses, though much scarcer than his cellos, can be of high quality and are highly regarded.

Thomas Kennedy Violins For Sale