c. 1850 Joseph Josset

Mirecourt, France

Apprentices who learned the luthier craft in Mirecourt during the nineteenth century were much sought after and would routinely move on to establish their own workshops in other cities, often Paris. Occasionally they would return to Eastern France after several years of success bringing their cultivated skills back to the various Mirecourt ateliers.

Date c. 1850
Location Mirecourt, France
Length of Guitar 920mm
String Length 622mm
Upper Bout Width 235mm
Waist Width 175mm
Lower Bout Width 299mm
Side Depth at Waist 80mm
Soundboard: Spruce | Back: Brazilian rosewood | Sides: Brazilian rosewood | Details: Materials, bridge and ornamentation reflect a typical Mirecourt design.


Modern day Mirecourt still embraces its legacy as an historic center for musical instrument-making: the logo on the tourism office declares, Capitale de la Lutherie. There is also a fascinating museum of stringed instruments with many historical guitars on display.

Joseph Victor Achille Josset was born in 1801 in Mirecourt and later settled in Paris where he died in 1850. Little is known about Josset’s career, but he may have worked in both places.

The Josset in the Austin-Marie Collection was likely made in Mirecourt. The outline of the bridge and the characteristic decorative mother of pearl inlays support this view. The head and neck are veneered in ebony with back and sides made of highly figured Brazilian rosewood. It may have originally come with wooden pegs but was later refitted with mechanical tuners. The French-style bracing has two harmonic bars with a diagonal support and a smaller one below it.

This instrument is reputed to have belonged to the renowned Danish artist Anne Marie Brodersen, one of the first women to be recognized as a serious sculptor. In 1891, she married the famed musician Carl Nielsen, considered to be Denmark’s greatest symphonic composer.