Panormo School, possibly by William Taylor

London, c.1800

Modified 7/8 Orchestra Model w/C-Extension


A full sized English/Italian Bass with a recent full restoration with the Block area reduced slightly shortening the string length to just under 42".

This Grand Panormo model has a highly arched Top and Back with deep Ribs. .


7/8 Panormo School Bass c.1800 ~ $105,000
Upper Bout: 21 3/4" Belly Length: 46 5/8", slightly reduced
Center Bout: 16 1/4" String Length: 41 7/8" (106.4 cm), modified
Bottom Bout: 28" Varnish: Nut Brown (not original)
Rib Depth: 9 1/8" (The upper Back angle break tapers from is 9" to 6" at Neck)
Top: Bear Claw Spruce
Back: Figured English Sycamore Maple
Ribs: Flamed Maple 
Neck / Scroll: Maple with highly flamed Maple Neck Graft with English Baker Gears

Features: World class Grand Panormo model with mixed Italian flair & English Panormo styling. The Scroll shows evidence of originally being built as a 3-string bass. The Plates and 3 of the Baker Gears are original with a near matched 4th Gear from the19th century. The Top and Back both measure about 6mm in thickness throughout as you would expect to see on a Panormo. The Back has a center brace like on a Flat Back that is very old and may be original as well. The upper Back angle studs inside are also in the style of Panormo's work.

The first time I laid eyes on this Bass the name William Taylor came to mind. Why? Because he was Panormo's assistant for many years and also is noted for working 'in the style' of' Panormo as well. Although every Violin Book I have that lists William Taylor (which is most of them) describes him in the most familiar manner, not a single English or American dealer I know, claims to have ever seen a William Taylor bass. How could it be that he is listed as far back as the late 19th century but no one around has seen a bass by him? Maybe, it's because they are all attributed to Panormo now, documented or not. So, the question is, how many Panormo basses currently circulating around, were actually made by William Taylor as his assistant or at his own shop of which he did operate for some time? This I would like to know and I welcome any and all information about William Taylor that we can find. As far as what is already published, here is a list of what I have found so far:

"Worked in London in the middle period of the 18th and early 19th centuries. Said to have been a pupil of Panormo. Made quite a number of basses. Varnish yellow or yellow-brown." (Raymond Elgar)

"He assisted Panormo. His violins are variable, some are quite highly arched and thin in the belly, others are flatter modelling. Varnish golden/brown. The style is Amati like and on the higher arched models the arching is typically pinched at the bridge position: soundholes straight set and rather open. Often not labelled, but the name written in ink inside the belly. He also made violas and 'cellos." (Dennis G. Plowright)

"Taylor, b. about 1750. Worked in London, in Princess Street, Drury Lane: was said to be a pupil of Panormo. He made good instruments, principally double-basses, and was clever at repairing old instruments." (C.Stainer c.1895)

"Taylor, London, about 1800. A maker of much merit. Instruments of the character of Panormo." (George Hart, 1884)

"Worked in Princess Street, Drury Lane, London, 1769-1800. Assistant of Panormo. Copied the principal features of that man's instruments, and from the very nature of their relationship, especially the double-basses, they must ever remain landmarks of that early period of the English school. Violins of less importance, but well modelled, with fairly flattish arching, yellow or yellow-brown varnish, very satisfactory tone. Also violas and 'cello which merit approval. 'Gulielmus Taylor, 1798'. (William Henley)

"Taylor, William (fl. 1790). Assistant of Panormo, working in Drury Lane, London. Particulary esteemed for his double basses. Label: Guliemus Taylor, 1798 (and others). Instruments sometimes branded."
(Brain W. Harvey, 1995)

"Taylor, William ; London, b. before 1750. d. after 1820. Reputedly pupil of V. Panormo; his flat-modelled violins and violas enjoy a good reputation for their tone. His doublebasses, however, are best of all. He was also noted for careful restorations." (Karel Jalovec, 1965)

About Panormo; "....Despite his huge influence on the London violin trade, very little is actually known of Vincenzo's years in England. One of his assistants may have been the William Taylor whose initials have been found in Bett's violins from the early 1800's and whose signature is inside the table of a double bass thought to be by Vincenzo..." (The British Violin, 1998/2000).

More on Panormo from George Hart in his book "Le Violon"; Vincenzo Panormo was the slave of many, manufacturing Double Basses and other instruments from the material selected and purchased by his temporary employer, ofttimes compelled to carry out some crotchet of the patron much against his own wishes. The wood thus forced upon him was often of the worst description; and, in addition, he was frequently obliged to complete his work within a given time. Instruments manufactured under such conditions can scarcely, it may be supposed, add to their maker's reputation. We cannot but regret that he should have been obliged to waste himself on such poor materials. Fortunately, however, in some cases he found time to exercise his skilful powers to their full extent, and has thus bequeathed to us some of the finest specimens of the copyist's art.


Note: Restored in 2009 by Arnold Schnitzer in New York (AES). This Bass is in fantastic condition with a slight Block cut to reduce the string length to just under 42". A beautiful handmade Ebony C-Extension was added shortly after by Schnitzer as well. Despite being a fairly large instrument, it plays very easily.



This beautiful Italian style Scroll was originally a 3-string with the 3 original Gears remaining


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