This is a fine early 20th century Italian violin by Silvio Paoletti, one of a number of good makers who trained under Valentino de Zorzi. It has that quality of style which is so hard to capture in words, but which is the hallmark of the Italian violin.
Silvio Vezio Paoletti apprenticed with de Zorzi and ultimately took over his workshop. He shares with de Zorzi the habit of branding his initials in points! The instrument bears multiple brands – on the button and the bottom rib externally, and on the inner back and the top block internally. It’s a very artistically made violin – the raised edgework is beautiful, the scroll and f-holes are finely cut, and the deep red varnish is rich and nicely craquelled. Overall the condition is very good – there’s a neatly repaired and barely perceptible crack below the bass f-hole, otherwise there are no issues.
There’s no question that Italian violins command a ridiculous premium compared to equivalent instruments from elsewhere in Europe – Italy is after all the home of the violin, and the myth of Stradivari will never die! I try to ignore the hype, but when I come across a beautifully made Italian instrument that also sounds great, then suddenly it seems even more “Italian”! This violin is a good example – a superb piece of craftsmanship with a pure and refined soprano voice, exuding charm and self-confidence. It has a clean, sweet and measured tone throughout the range, and would be ideal for a professional chamber musician.
Back length 35.9cm, stop 129/197mm
Certificate: Dmitry Gindin, London 2014
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