A Little Dearlove History

Back in the 1800’s, a man named Mark Dearlove had a shop in Leeds where he made high-quality musical instruments. Every now and then I get an e-mail or phone call from someone who has purchased a Dearlove violin or cello and wants to know if I know anything about the instrument’s history.


Apparently his whole family was musical, with many of his sons, daughters, and grandchildren involved in music. At one point, there was an entire band in Harrogate comprised solely of Dearloves.


The picture above was taken in 1958 inside the Abbey House Museum in Leeds, where they had faithfully re-created Mark Dearlove’s instrument shop. The good-looking folks in the picture are all Dearloves and were there to play a recital. FYI, the second gentleman from the left in the back row is Kenneth Dearlove.

60 thoughts on “A Little Dearlove History

  1. Hi Mark,

    I was doing some geneology research for my daughters school project and stumbled upon your website. The man holding the bass next to Kenneth is Jack (aka Arthur Barclay John). His son John Graeme is my Dad. My father (unfortunately) dropped the Dearlove name when his parents divorced during the war years. Are you related to Kenneth? If so we might be second cousins thrice removed or something! (I have a copy of a family tree if you are interested) I live in BC and am also a musician (though very much an amateur). My instrument? the Highland bagpipe! Much to my Dad’s chagrin!

    Great website.

    1. My Grandfather was William Henry Dearlove, one of his sons was Arthur Barclay John Dearlove, he had a son by the name of John Graeme.
      I guess we must be cousins.

    2. I know this is years later, but my Grandfather’s name is Kenneth. I’m not sure what year my grandparents came to Canada, but we’re in Ontario.

      1. Hi Lyndsey. My grandfather was George and he is sitting on the front row holding a clarinet. His son (my uncle Derek) is on the back row next to Uncle Kenneth and Uncle Jack. I think the Dearloves are all around the world now. We are in California.

        Judy Curtis

  2. Hi Angus. What a great story – the Internet is a strange and wonderful place sometimes.

    As far as I know, I’m not related to anyone in the picture. My dad’s name was Kenneth, and he was a musician and teacher, but that’s not him in the picture.

    My part of the Dearlove family is based in Southern Ontario, and I believe my Uncle Paul has traced us back to a Dearlove who settled in Stratford around 1850.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and good luck with your daughter’s project.

  3. Hi,

    The first from the right is Charles and next to him is my Grandfather Mark Albert.

    The Alan Dearlove you have on your first page is me and Edwin was my brother who unfortunately passed away last Christmas.

    Edwin was a musician in the British Army for some 24 years.

    I have a very substantial family tree that you may find interesting.



  4. Hi,

    I’m James Dearlove I live in Ontario and I’m in my teen years. I really want to now about my family’s history so please E-mail me!

  5. Hey,

    Please could you send me any family trees you have in possestion. I’m a Dearlove from Leeds.


  6. Hi

    just wanted to ask if you know of any instruments made by Dearlove that are available for sale, i am especially interested in a violin. The reason i m asking is that Mark who’s shop is recreated in the photo above is my great great great grandfather and i would love to purchase a violin made by him as a gift for my daughter.

    I visisted the museum once when i was only 5 back in the late 70’s its a shame that the recreation of his shop which stood on Boar Lane in Leeds city centre no longer exists at the museum as i would appreciate the history more now.

    Additionally if you still have a copy of the family tree i would be greatful for a copy

  7. hi i am also one of the dearlove clan, but my branch are in york near leeds, my maternal great grandmother was harriet dearlove. we get everywhere.

    1. I have changed the location of the family tree site above to:

      I have also added a Dearlove World Map – a google map where I would like to try and get as many Dearloves around the world. If you have a google account you can add yourself to the map, if not you can leave your location in the comments on my blog. The map can be found at http:/www.dearlovefamily.com/



      1. Hi Mark, I see that both of your websites are no longer active. I would be curious to see any of the material you had on the Dearloves, including the family tree you’ve spoken of. I am the grandson of John Graeme/Dearlove (who was the son of Jack [aka Arthur Barclay] Dearlove). If you (or anyone who sees this) are able to share any information, photos, etc. my email is mike_graeme@hotmail.com
        Thank you very much in advance!

    2. I think your father was known to me as great uncle Mark, one of my grandfather’s brothers (my grandfather was Alfred Boshell Dearlove – cornet player who died in 1926 at only 42 years old. If this is correct I knew your father a little when I was young. I believe he lived on Dragon Terrace in Harrogate and played flute at the Empire Theatre in Leeds.Am I right? I have lived in Harrogate all my life. I have some family tree details but would always welcome moreprior to 1800.


  8. Hi

    Im a Dearlove from South-Africa. Im not even sure whom I related to.

    My grandfather was Syndey Dearlove

    1. Hi Mark
      I am a Dearlove from South Africa. I found a reply to one of your posts by Leigh-Anne who is also a Dearlove from South Africa. She said her Grandfather was Sydney Dearlove.I know very little of my family tree but have an idea my fathers father was also Sydney Dearllove. I would like to contact Leigh-Anne. Could you give me her e mail address
      Best regards
      Peter Dearlove

      1. Hi Mark,
        Sidney was my father and Leigh-Anne’s grandfather,
        You can give my email address to Peter to contact me.
        I Have done some research and I think Peter’s fathers
        name was Walter (Bunny),my fathers brother.
        I have started a family tree on Ancestry.com
        and have also traced the Dearlove name back to
        Athol Dearlove

  9. I am a cellist and I own a Dearlove cello. It is a lovely instrument. I live in Ironbridge, UK

    1. My son just bought an old English cello (probably first half of the 19th century) with an “Leeds” inscription like you mention on the back of the instrument. Only this time it reads Fecit Leeds, without a name.

      Would it be possible for you to send me some photographs of your instrument (and the inscription) to compare them with the instrument my son son bought.

      From the “Lutgendorf-bible” I learned there are 2 Dearlove violinmakers: Mark and his son Mark William, the latter being the more gifted one. About this one he writes: “his celli are actually quite good”. Do you happen to know which of the two made your cello?

      1. Hi Fritz,
        My cello is likely to have been made by the son . It is different to Carl’s cello which is made by Mark Dearlove. My cello has a much darker wood and significant differences .It is a lovely instrument to play-is your son pleased with his instrumant?

        Yes I can send photos.
        With best wishes Lilian

    2. Dear Lilian,
      today I read, that you are the owner of a Dearlove cello. My daughter wants to buy one with the brandmark Dearlove Maker Leeds. Please can you send me photos of your cello to compare them? Do you think that your cello is also capable for concerts like Dvorak, shostakovich…?
      Best wishes!

      1. Hi Katharina,
        If this site kindly forwards your E mail address I can send photos.
        This cello produces a lovely sound and is powerful and mellow.It carries incredibly well. I have played a very powerful modern instrument recently and that really made a huge sound but lacked the mellowness. I concentrate on Baroque repertoire mainly but I am sure the cello would cope with the big romantic and trwentieth century cello solos if you mean “concertos” and not concerts? I have strung it with Larsen strings, which probably make it sound the best now but it sounds lovely with dominant or a combination and I used Pirastro Eudoxa silver on gut strings on it in the past and they were lovely .It is a small full size cello as well. Hope this helps. I would always welcome anyone who would like to try it out if they are local.

  10. I am a dearlove originaly im from northern ireland and my grandad is called peter david dearlove he wos in the royal hussars i think he is liveing in cumbria somewere but i dnt no were he has a son and 2 daughters if any 1 nos anythng bout him please email me thnks

  11. I am a violin shop owner in Tacoma, Washington state, USA; and I am currently doing extensive restoration work on a cello by Mark Dearlove with the original manuscript label. I would appreciate any biographical information about him. I know that he died in 1820. I would be interested in exchanging cello photos with Lillian Kelly, who mentions that she owns a Dearlove cello.

    1. Hi Carl,
      Yes I can let you have some photos of the cello. The name “Dearlove, Leeds” is inscribed into the wood on the back of the instrument and not inside. So there is no handwriting and I don’t know which Dearlove tended to mark his cellos this way. I will need your details to send pictures.
      Best wishes. Lilian

    2. Hi Carl

      Whilst browsing the Internet today, I came across your request for information about Mark Dearlove, the instrument maker and musician.
      Has anyone sent you a copy of the articale about the Dearlove family musical background which was published in a magazine in the early 1950s?
      If not, let me have your emailaddress and I will send you a copy.

      Kind regards


      1. Dear Adrian,

        Thanks very much for your kind offer. I would be delighted to read that article. Are you a musician, like so many of the historical Dearloves? By the way, the cello restoration is nearing completion. I hope to have it playable again in a couple of months. Then we’ll see whether it still sounds good!

        Carl Applebaum

    1. My son just bought an old English cello (probably first half of the 19th century) with an “Leeds” inscription like Lilian Kelly mentioned on the back of the instrument. Only this time it reads Fecit Leeds, without a name.

      Would it be possible for you to send me some photographs of your instrument (and the label) to compare them with the instrument my son bought.

      From the “Lutgendorf-bible” I learned there are 2 Dearlove violinmakers: Mark and his son Mark William, the latter being the more gifted one. As I understand from you the instrument you repaired is made by the father?

      I have seen my sons instrument yet but he sent me some photographs. The F-holes are very much apart. Is that in line with either of the Dearloves’ style?

      1. Dear Frits,
        If you could post your email address, I would be happy to send photos. Where are you located?
        Very little solid documentation exists about the instruments made by either father or son. It does seem clear that the son hired at least two other violin makers to work for him, so it is difficult to credit instruments to him personally. Mark Dearlove died in 1820. His wife, Mary, operated the shop for a few years, until their son, Mark William, came to his majority. The cello I have is on a sort of Amati pattern, but quite wide and short in the body, with measurements similar to a Montagnana (although it seems unlikely that Mark Dearlove was aware of Montagnana’s work). The f’s are quite vertical, and a little far apart, reflecting the width of the body. In these ways and others, they are typical of many English cellos of the late 1700’s and the early 1800’s. This cello must be from the decade between 1809, when Mark opened the shop in Boare Lane, and 1820, when his death notice appeared in the local newspaper. It reflects a style of workmanship that was superseded later by a more polished approach. As for the style or level of workmanship of the son (or his workmen), the few photographs available in the reference books, and the two cellos held by the Abbey House museum in Leeds, seem to show that he adopted a more Stradivarian model, as did most of the British makers during the mid-nineteenth century. You should also be aware that there were quite a few other violin makers in Leeds and its environs. The mere presence of “fecit Leeds” does not in itself indicate a Dearlove origin.
        For those interested, I just finished the work on the cello restoration two days ago. It sounds quite warm and powerful; but I still need to spend some time adjusting it as it “plays in”.

  12. Hi Mark,

    I read Anthol Dearlove’s message, and wondered if i could view the Dearlove family tree, my gran was Georgina Dearlove. I am also in South Africa
    Thank you

  13. Hi

    Arthur Dearlove was my great grandfather. His son (my great uncle) was called Kenneth, but I don’t know if it’s the same Kenneth that’s in the photo. I would love access to the family tree if possible.

    1. The Kenneth in the photograph was the son of Arthur (who played the Contra-B). He had a sister called Dolly who was never very well and died around 1960. I don’t know if I have any music or business cards mentioning Uncle Arthur, but if you contact me I will certainly look.

      1. Hi Judy, nice to hear from you. I’ve just spoken to my mother and she says that she remembers you, and that they used to visit you in Minskip. I don’t know if you remember her, her name’s Mavis and she had a younger sister Pamela. Their mother was your mothers cousin. I have some more photos of the museum and the brothers, if you let me have your e-mail address I can send copies to you.

    2. I remember Pamela – she used to go to Harrogate High School too. We now live in California which is a far cry from Minskip. My email is jccalifornia@verizon.net. I would love to see anything about the family after all these years. Somewhere lost in the house here is a lot of music, photographs. cards etc., etc. Would love to hear from you.

      1. I Noticed You Are From Harrogate So Was i But My Partner Kathryn Dearlove Is From York Her Father Was Walter Dearlove Also of York Born n Bred Walter Was A Marine In The Royal Navy During World War 2 It Would Be Wonderful To Know About His War Exploits If Anyone Knows Anything

  14. Hi my dad was owen dearlove nash born in 1908 in vryheid natal rsa I think my granmother was a jess dearlove I would like to find out anything about her if anyone can help please contact me don nash cape town

  15. Hi everyone,
    I am a violin maker based in hereford and i have been looking recently at a cello belonging to my mother.The brand below the button clearly reads “dearlove maker leeds” It has been extensively (badly) repaired mainly to the ribs which appear rather thin, though it has had a nicely executed neck graft at some point. It doesn’t look terribly Straddy to me appearing more akin to the description posted by Mr Applebaum. I would be happy to send some photo’s for comparison and would be delighted to recieve some photo’s of the cello restored by Mr Applebaum for my own comparision. I wonder if that cello had rib problems perhaps caused by insufficiant thicknesses. I am currently trying to find all i can about the Dearlove makers and will keep you posted of my findings. my email address is nikacons@yahoo.co.uk If anyone has any information which may help me in my quest.

    Keep up the good work
    Nicholas Acons

    1. You are welcome to see my cello if it helps and I would be interested to see yours, as we are not very far away from each other. If you ever come to Ironbridge feel free to drop in.
      Best wishes

    1. I bet you are the long lost relatives my grandfather used to speak of. We (well my eldest son did) lost a letter from one of the uncles out there to Uncle Jack when he was setting up the museum out here. It gave all the names and their musical (or non-musical talent!). Would love to hear if there are any musicians out there.

  16. I have just seen the photograph of the Dearlove family museum. My granfather was George and he is sitting at the front clutching his clarinet. His son (my uncle Derek) is standing in the middle. I remember Uncle Jack getting the museum together. It is amazing to find I have all these relatives! Uncle Jack had a letter from one of the Brisbane Dearloves but unfortunately I have lost it. They did have the miniature violins which were donated to the museum in Leeds. I would love to hear from any Dearloves out there.

  17. I came across this post while researching the origin and maker of my daughters cello.

    We have been told that the cello is approx 300 years old and it is labeled with “Fecit Leeds” on the back.

    If anyone has any information on how we can determine the maker and origin using this information, I would appreciate it! Or if there is something else I can look for and use to uncover this information?

    1. I have just seen your email about the Dearlove family tree. We are in the process of moving and I have a copy somewhere and will certainly let you have a copy as soon as I can locate it. At the moment some things are in our home in California and some are here in Colorado!
      Where do you fit in with the long line of Dearloves? My grandfather was George Walter who played drums, saxophone and clarinet.

  18. Hi Mark, I see my dad Mel posted above, have you still got the tree going? I’d love to see it if possible 🙂 Cheers

    Jack son of Melvyn, grandson of Frank.

  19. I am a decendant of the Dearlove clan too, but ours were in London and Berkshire. I’m not sure if they are directly related to the Dearloves in York? If anyone knows please let me know as I am doing the family tree and might be able to add to your tree as well. Thanks

    1. I Have lots information on berkshire Dearloves inc birth /death certs compiled by Donald Dearlove

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