Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Rayman, Jacob

RAYMAN, JACOB (fl. 1620–1650), violin-maker, is said to have been a Tyrolese by birth, and to have come to London in 1620; but this conjecture is not confirmed by Rayman's work, which bears no trace of foreign influence, and he may have been connected with the Rayman family settled in Sussex (cf. Berry, Sussex Genealogies). In 1641 Rayman was living in Blackman Street, Southwark; he then removed to Bell Yard, Southwark, where he remained till 1648. He is regarded as the founder of violin-making in England, no previous English maker being known; ‘his instruments, albeit rough, have plenty of character, well-cut scrolls, and superb varnish’ (The Strad, iii. 77); but, according to Fleming, his violins are inferior to his violoncellos, his work on which has not been surpassed.

[Authorities quoted; Fleming's Fiddle Fancier's Guide, 1892, p. 103; Pearce's Violins, p. 68; Grove's Dict. of Music, ii. 163 a, iv. 281 a; Heron-Allen's De Fidiculis Bibliographia; Hart's Violins and Violin Makers, pp. 168, 200.]

A. F. P.