Forster, William sr.


Eminent English violin-maker, who was born at Brampton, Cumberland, and went to London when twenty years of age, being then a cattle drover and undergoing many hardships and privations. He was finally hired by a music-seller named Beck, of Tower Hill, London, and in a few years went into business for himself (about 1781). He gained a great reputation for his instruments, which were of superior make. He is said to have copied Stainer and Amati, and attained high excellence. His doublebasses, of which he made only a few, are very valuable and his cellos are ranked among the best. He later added to his business that of music publisher and in 1781 published in agreement with Joseph Haydn a number of that composer's works. Later he moved to the Strand, where his business grew and he became ultimately wealthy. He died in London at the house of his son, who followed in his father's steps as a maker of famous instruments.