Dennis Plowright, mechanical engineer and violin-maker, was born on January 11, 1925. He died on October 26, 2007, aged 82. He grew up in Mill Hill, North London. His interest in stringed instruments began when, at 15, he came across a book on violins. Having an aptitude for all things mechanical he joined the Navy as an engineer. He later established himself as a chartered mechanical engineer and consultant.
His practical skills would stand him in good stead when he began to make violins. Initially he studied violin-making with Raymond Franks, who was active in London from the 1930s until the mid-1950s. Later, he received much helpful advice
from two highly regarded professional violin experts, Paul Voigt and Clifford Hoing.
Plowright produced his first instrument in 1951 and in the next 45 years he completed an impressive 51 violins, 98 violas and 27 cellos. In addition to constructing new instruments he also carried out repairs for string
British violin-makers, modern and historical, were his specific area of interest, and he compiled accurate details of every instrument he came across. This labour bore fruit in the publication of two books: a comprehensive and very
useful Dictionary of British Violin and Bow Makers (1994, revised & enlarged 1996) and Aspects of the Violin - A Handbook for Makers and Players (1994).
Plowright was also a keen amateur cellist and pianist.
In 1984 he retired to Exmouth, but not from the world of instruments - he made his last instrument in 2005 despite his failing eyesight. Plowright is survived by his wife, Mary, and the daughter and son from his previous marriage.