The Helland branch

Jon Eriksson

1790 - 1862



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Jon Eriksson Helland was the founder of the fiddle making tradition in Boe. His name was originally Jon Eriksson Hellos, and he was born in Boe on the cotter's subfarm of Hellos  (note)  on the Eika farm (map).
He married Ingeborg Eilevsdatter Helland on the Helland farm (note) and took name after moving there.

It is said that Jon from Hellos brought the artistic talents into the Helland family.
His mother's father was Gunleik Gåra, a well-known master singer. The son of Jon's brother was the master fiddle player Hans Flatland the elder.
Jon Eriksen Helland learned the skill of fiddlemaking while serving his military duty in Danmark and, later from Olav Gullbekk and Karl Rue in Telemark.

The major features of his fiddles, broadly speaking followed the patterns and shapes of the Hardanger fiddles of that time. He also made violins in the italian style.

Erik Jonsson Helland was the eldest son of Jon Helland.
As time went on, he began to specialize in making Hardanger fiddles and gained reputation as the foremost in the trade.
In the years of the1850, he caught national attention and was awarded a national scholarship to study with the violin makers, Enger & Son in Copenhagen, Denmark. However, he had already accomplished a level of artistic skill that made the stay in Copenhagen of limited value to him.
Around 1830, he began to experiment in his father’s workshop   (note)  with new models in order to obtain a more powerful tone without loosing the softness of the instrument. This lead to a broader instrument, with a fuller outline and a lower vault, which is now the common style.

No other violin maker in Norway has had such an impact on the design of the Hardanger fiddle as Erik Jonsson Helland.

Erik Jonsson

1816 - 1868

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The eldest son of Erik, Jon died only 20 years of age. He was considered very gifted and his father had great expectations for him, as seen from from the fact that he took him on his travels to Christiania (Oslo) and Horten.

Because of his early death, he did not make many violins. However, it is likely that he would have been a greater violin maker still, than his father.

Jon Eriksson

1849 - 1869
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Knut Eriksson Helland
1851 - 1880

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Knut Eriksson Helland was the youngest son of Erik Jonsson Helland II. He began to work in his fathers workshop at an early age, and showed great skill, especially in making fiddle bridges and gripboard. When he was nine years old he made the bridge to one of the violins that Ole Bull had ordered.

After the his fathers death he continued his fathers workshop.
At first he worked alone, but he was later joined by his brother in-law, Gunnar Olavsson (Haugen) Helland to whom he taught the art of making violins.

Unfortunately, Knut died 29 years of age and Gunnar was the one to continue the tradition.