Musical Instruments made by Leslie H. John
Musical Instruments made by Leslie H. John illustrates violins, violas, cellos and a lute made by an engineer, who in the 1950s had been the Chief Engineer of Richard Thomas & Baldwin's South Wales Steelworks in Llanelli. Over the two decades of the 1960s and 70s he made over 50 instruments, which acquired a reputation for their excellent tonal quality and playability. In addition to his accomplishments as a violin maker, he invented what the press described at the time as the 'world's first suitcase cello' for a client in California. Earlier he had been a pioneer of television in West Wales.
The book, written by his son, describes briefly Leslie John's life against the background of the evolution of the South Wales steel industry in the postwar period.
Philip John was born in1945, attended Llanelly Boys' Grammar School and graduated from King's College, University of London. Not having inherited his father's skills in craftsmanship and music, he took up a career in academia as a plant biochemist, carrying our research and teaching at the Universities of California at Berkeley, Oxford and Reading. At the University of Reading he became Head of the School of Plant Sciences, and discovered the scientific basis of natural indigo production and dyeing. He retired in 2010 and lives in Oxford; and in his wife Luciana's home city of Naples, Italy, where he recently profited from the Italian sunshine to varnish the violin that remained 'in the white' when his father passed away in 1982.
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