Benoît-Joseph Boussu (8 April 1703, in Fourmies, Nord, France – September 1773, in Avesnes-sur-Helpe, France) was an 18th-century French violin maker active in the Brussels area during the middle of the eighteenth century (c. 1749 – c. 1761).
His making method incorporated both local archaic as well as foreign influences. The Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels and the Musée national de la Renaissance have several Boussu violins and cellos in their collection.
Boussu was baptized on 8 April 1703 in Fourmies, Nord, France, and for the first half of his working life he worked in Avesnes-sur-Helpe, France, as a notary, while his father and grandfather also were notaries. In his 40s, he and his family moved north, subsequently to Liège (c. 1749 – c. 1750), Etterbeek (c. 1751 – 1753) and Brussels (1753 – c. 1761) and at the same time he commenced a twelve-year period of intensive violin making. He abandoned his newly acquired profession, and in the 1760s moved again, possibly to the Amsterdam area, where three of his children married and subsequently lived, or otherwise directly back to his native area of France (Avesnes-sur-Helpe), where he died in September 1773.
This violin is absolutely typical of Boussu's production, it features all the classic and quirky features of this maker. In researching this violin we visited the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels and compared it to the instruments in their collection with the help of Geerten Verberkmoes who is including this vioiln in his up-coming PhD thesis on Boussu and his instrument making.
It's in good condition for its age, looks and sounds fantastic. We had it described as sounding like a poor man's Del Gesu! Representing great value for money for such a wonderful tone and a great history.
The length of the back is 358 mm.