Violoncello by William Forster II, London, ca. 1780-90.


Original printed label reads:


                                                                      William Forster

                                                                      Violin, Violoncello, Tenor and Bow-maker

                                                                      To their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales

                                                                      And the Duke of Cumberland, London.


Dimensions:                                                 Length of Back:              731mm

                                                                      Width upper bout:           330mm

                                                                      Width centre bout:          242mm

                                                                      Width lower bout:           423mm


A very fine example of the earlier period of "Old" William Forster's work, this instrument is very similar in model and dimensions to the famous "Royal George", the cello of 1782 built by Forster for George Frederick, Prince of Wales. This cello follows the modified Amati pattern of old Forster with the Stainer model head and scroll and is very elegantly executed.

Back of 2 book-matched pieces of  maple, broadly figured, descending from the centre join, the ribs similar, the top and bottom ribs in a single piece.

Neck and head of plain maple

Belly of 2 book-matched pieces of fine to medium grained pine.

The excellent quality original varnish is of a golden red-brown hue with a mellow amber ground and is very well preserved on the whole instrument with minimal retouching and over-polishing.


Overall condition is excellent for the age. The cello is currently configured for modern playing and is offered as-is.

Previous repair work seems to be of good quality and is limited to two repaired cracks in the belly below the treble FF hole and repairs to the ribs near the neck and in the treble lower bout. The back has two dowel repairs at the lower block and on the button. The saddle is modern but has not been appreciably enlarged from the original.

This cello retains its original neck, lengthened and raised at the heel for modern playing.

It also appears to retain its original bassbar, making it a very interesting candidate for restoration to original condition as a baroque/classical cello.

A full restoration proposal is available on request to return the cello to its original specifications.

Provenance: This cello came through the workshop of the well respected violin maker, William Edward Dolphin (1903 - 1981), one of A.E. Smith's first apprentices. It has been in the Dolphin family for over 50 years.