The Sherlock Violin

Posted on 12/11/2009 by


I love finding stories. But it’s even better when they find you.

I was scanning a noticeboard in the St.Brides community centre this afternoon, when I bumped into this man, Steve Burnett. Master craftsman, violin maker, artist, Steve was carrying one of his creations on his back – and a very special instrument it was too.

The sherlock violin was made from a sycamore tree earlier this year – a sycamore tree that had stood in the garden of the house where Arthur Conan Doyle grew up, near to Cameron Toll in Edinburgh. Conan Doyle is best know for his literary creation, Sherlock Holmes, the Stradivarius playing, opium addicted detective of some repute.

Burnett explains more about this remarkable instrument below, including how he was able to rapidly season the wood using natural minerals, including ash from Mount Vesuvius – an ancient technique used by Italian master craftsmen.

Interview with Steve Burnett

But the violin would do more than just make music. It would be used solely for fundraising concerts, particularly for environmental charities.

The first such concert will be held at Greyfriars Kirk at 7:30pm on the 27th of November to raise money for the Marine Conservation Society based in Edinburgh. I hope to have some footage of the violin being played for you soon, but in the meantime, here is a recording of the instrument in action.

Hear the Sherlock Violin

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