chapter  5
36 Pages

‘Such as now do lawfully exercise any art, mistery, or manual occupation’: Viol making as a trade or occupation

This chapter2 examines the organization of viol making, the nature and extent of which emerges as less formal and predictable than might be expected. No formal organization of viol makers existed in early modern England, but there could be useful models that might indicate likely forms of apprenticeship and training, workshop organization, commercial relationships and other aspects of makers’ working lives. This would be particularly valuable because we have so little biographical information about viol makers. Very few of them are identifiable by name, and even fewer are illuminated by substantial information. So an understanding of the general nature of the sort of people who made viols – their place in society, their motivations and the way they went about their work – is as close as we can get to understanding most of them.