James Robinson, owner of the Violin Place located at Suite 202, The Bentleigh Tower,1 Katherine Street, Chatswood, NSW, is a highly qualified and experienced restorer. In the early 1970’s James studied at the world famous violin making school in Cremona, Italy. After finishing the school in 1973 he moved to London where he got a job with one of the best violin shops in Europe, Ealing Strings. Later he also worked in other famous violin shops such as Kanda & Co. In Tokyo and Havivi ‘s as well as Jacques François's Violin Shop in New York City. Much of his experience, over more than 4 decades has involved making tonal corrections to the owners' satisfaction as well as restoring the condition of instruments.
This is the best way to learn about restoration work; being in an environment where work of the highest level is regularly undertaken on many of the worlds’ most important and valuable instruments. By analogy, after graduating from a cordon blu school; one way a chef can advance in his/her career is by working in the kitchen of world famous restaurants. Violin shops (mostly in Europe and North America) can also have a 'prestige ranking' due to their reputation for high level restorations dealing in the 'best' and most expensive string instruments from the classical period. James Robinson is one of the few luthiers in Australia with this type and quality of experience.
Historical and important instruments, including those which are owned by advanced amateur and professional players deserve and demand the utmost duty of care and integrity by the instruments restorer. This involves a respect for the originality and concept of the instrument's maker.
The restorer needs to work with high precision, correct ethics and correct and informed style. Style involves following the traditions set by the finest restoring work in the past on the finest instruments. These traditions have been carried down from master to student and much of this is not in print but exists within the high level violin shops in North America and Europe. This traditional knowledge of how things should be is passed down to the workshop staff at these high level violin shops. Unfortunately, a restorer or someone who has been 'self taught' or has not spent any, or very little time, working in these high level shops, may be working from a deficit, and may endanger a player's fine instrument. The wise customer practices due diligence.