Joseph Hel was born in Vosges, France in 1842. As a young man, Joseph Hel was said to have repeatedly abandoned the sheep so he could he wander off and see the violin makers in nearby Mirecourt instead. He was drawn to the cradle of French violin making where he dreamt of life in a different world, a musical world. In 1856, at the age of fourteen, Hel began his apprenticeship under François Salzard. After seven years as an apprentice, Hel worked for Sebastien Vuillaume before establishing himself in Lille in 1865. Throughout his career, Hel never lost the enthusiasm for violinmaking that he held during his youth. His constant search for information and progress led him to creating innovative methods of making and repairing instruments. According to the violin expert, William Henley, Hel’s craftsmanship and eye for detail was near perfect. This particular violin is in near mint condition and produces an evenly powerful and crisp tone across the strings. Back length: 35.5 cm.