Bernhard Simon Fendt (I) violin, London 1819
Bernhard Simon Fendt I (b.1769, d.1832) was a German luthier known for his exceedingly remarkable and clever replicas. He was first trained by his uncle, the renowned violin maker François Fendt, in Paris before he moved to London in 1798, where he got hired immediately at Thomas Dodd's workshop. He worked frequently with John Frederick Lott, learning how to replicate the styles and techniques of great Italian masters, including Stradivari. During this time, Fendt developed his own brand of finish: a dark and rich texture of varnish, which became a distinguishing feature of his instruments.
He then worked under John Betts from 1809 to 1825. Many of Bernhard Simon Fendt I's works bore the label of Dodd and Betts, including copies of Amati. He also specialized in accurate imitations of Gasparo da Salo, Maggini, and Testore. Fendt was among the very few violin makers during the mid-19th century who thrived in Britain, as German- and French-made factory instruments became rampant. Today, his work is highly prized and considered among the finest.