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The Lamy Family


It was common practice amongst French luthier and archetier families to share the same first names and surnames and the Lamy family were no exception, although not as confusing as some!

Jean Joseph Lamy (1813 – 1886) had a number of sons, three of whom had the first name Joseph. He was an occasional violinmaker rather than a major figure in the violin world and it was his sons and grandsons who really established the LAMY name, especially as bow makers.

The Sons

Eldest son Joseph Jean-Baptiste Lamy (1848 -1906) is recorded as having worked with J. Voirin and then with Maline and finally at JTL where some of his bows had the Fricot brand.

Second son Joseph Alfred Lamy was born in 1850 and when he was younger he was known as Alfred to distinguish him from his elder brother and his bow stamp was A LAMY À PARIS.  He should not be confused with his nephew bowmaker Alfred Lamy. Joseph Alfred became known as Lamy Père.
He had been apprenticed as a bowmaker (archetier)  to Husson, worked with Gautrot  and subsequently moved from Mirecourt to Paris where he worked with F.N. Voirin before establishing his own workshop in the Rue Poissonnière.  He was a superb craftsman and the young Sartory spent many hours with him. He died in the influenza pandemic in 1919.

Another brother, Léon Jules Lamy was born in Mirecourt in February 1853 and was trained as a violin maker (luthier), a pupil of Charotte. For a long time he was part of the Thibouville-Lamy firm and eventually settled in Paris.

Other children were born to Jean-Joseph and his wife Victoire Caroline (née Jouvenot), some of whom died in infancy, including another Joseph.

The Grandsons

Hippolyte Camille Lamy, born August 1875, was actually the fourth child of Joseph Alfred Lamy (known as Lamy Père) with his wife Élysa (née Cuvillier) but was the first of the children to train as a bowmaker and for this reason, was generally known as the “1er fils” - first son. He completed his apprenticeship in his father’s workshop in the Rue Poisonnière in Paris from 1890 and then assisted Lamy Père and copied his style to the extent that the early bows are extremely hard to distinguish from those of his father. He developed his own slight variations but the general characteristics of the bows are very similar. Following the death of Lamy Père in 1919, Hippolyte Camille took over the family atelier. He died in January 1942.

His brother, Georges Léon (born 1881) was also a promising craftsman and joined his father and Hippolyte in the family workshop, also using the same brand.  Sadly his career was cut short when he died as a result of battle injuries during the First World War.

Alfred Lamy, (1886-1922) sometimes known as Alfred Lamy Neveu (nephew), was the son of Joseph Jean-Baptiste and nephew of Joseph Alfred Lamy (Père). He served his apprenticeship as a bowmaker with Bazin. By 1901 he was working for Jacquot and then went on to Cuniot-Hury in Mirecourt from 1906.  It is thought that he also worked with Louis Bazin around 1912 -1914
After the First World War, Alfred Lamy had his own atelier for a couple of years and branded with his own marks A LAMY or ALFRED LAMY. He then went on to work with Laberte in 1921.    His death at the young age of 36, deprived the world of what would have been many more fine bows.

Please Note!

Some earlier reference works suggest that there was a son of Lamy Père called Alfred Lamy fils but the latest and most authoritative source states that although there was a son called Alfred, he was not a bowmaker.  It is probable that these earlier works confused him with Alfred Lamy neveu who was a distinguished bowmaker.