Obituary: Robert Lewin

WHENEVER a sale of valuable stringed instruments took place at one of the big auction houses, Robert Lewin was never far from the scene. From very modest beginnings, he became one of the most knowledgable "fiddle- fanciers" in the business, and contributed articles on the London sales in the Strad magazine for over 40 years.

"Bob" Lewin was born in 1906 over his father's fish shop in Stratford, east London, and attended the local elementary school in Tottenham when the family moved there shortly afterwards. He showed an interest in music from an early age and when quite a small boy had some instruction on the violin from a local teacher. He later had lessons with the Spanish-American Achille Rivarde and the Russian-born Sascha Lasserson (a pupil of Leopold Auer), who became one of the most celebrated London teachers in between the two world wars.

In addition to working in his father's shop, Lewin played in cinemas accompanying silent films and led a number of amateur orchestras. He was also a very able chamber music player and at one time had his own string quartet who gave broadcasts of light music from the BBC. During the Second World War he served in the Auxiliary Fire Service.

His great interest in stringed instruments led him to be engaged as a valuer for World Auxiliary Insurance - later to become British Reserve; eventually he became recognised world-wide as one of the most respected advisers in the field.

His skills as a writer - at first for a fish trade paper, were such that by the Sixties he found himself contributing articles to the Strad, and it was here that he reported on thousands of sales at the leading London auction houses. He also wrote numerous obituaries of string players for the same journal.

Another of his passions was to study the stock market daily and when it became available on Ceefax, almost hourly. Most of his many accomplishments were self-taught and he was an avid reader right up to the last few months before his death.

As a young man he was a keen tennis player and over the years regularly visited Wimbledon. Here again, he was an astute observer of the game and could discuss the subject with authority.

Bob Lewin always looked as if he had dressed in a hurry with clothes from a jumble sale, and had no time for sartorial elegance. He had a whimsical sense of humour, and was a great practical joker and a brilliant raconteur. He was extremely generous and liked nothing better than to entertain his friends at a gourmet restaurant.

Robert Lewin, violinist and valuer of musical instruments: born London 18 July 1906; died London 25 March 1998.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: To work as part of the Le...

KS1 Float Teacher needed in the Vale

£100 - £110 per day + Travel scheme plus free professional trainnig: Randstad ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

KS2 Float Teacher required in Caerphilly

£100 - £110 per day + Travel Scheme plus free professional training: Randstad ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week