c. 1820 Nicolas Simoutre

Mirecourt, France

Nicolas Simoutre (1788–1869) was born in Mirecourt in northeastern France. He studied in Paris under the famed violin maker Nicolas Lupot, known as the “French Stradivari.” He returned to his hometown of Mirecourt in 1817 to establish his own atelier. As his son, the successful violin maker Nicolas Eugene Simoutre would later write, his father was a shy man who shunned the bustling lifestyle of the capital.

Date c. 1820
Location Mirecourt, France
Length of Guitar 925mm
String Length 637mm
Upper Bout Width 235mm
Waist Width 166mm
Lower Bout Width 300mm
Side Depth at Waist 85mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Maple | Sides: Maple | Details: Rosette and border of the soundboard are adorned in a matching mother of pearl vine motif.

Over the next two decades, Simoutre crafted fine guitars, some branded with his name and many that were not. By the late 1830s, the guitar craze that has swept throughout Europe was on the decline, and as demand predictably retreated, Simoutre moved north to work with his son Nicolas Eugene, making violins and cellos in Metz not far from the German border. For the next three decades until his death, Simoutre focused exclusively on crafting bowed instruments, leaving his guitar-building days behind him.

The c. 1820 Nicolas Simoutre in the Austin-Marie Collection is branded with his name visible through the sound hole on the inside of the maple back. The rosette and border of the soundboard are adorned in a matching mother of pearl vine motif that continues up the neck and encircles the headstock. An urn holding the same motif appears on the head – a signature figure common to many Simoutre guitars.