This lovely little violin has flummoxed everyone who has seen it. It has resisted dendrochronology, and it has no clear geographical identifying features. All that can be said for certain is that it has strong Italian features, though the scroll is reminiscent of the English fakers such as John Wilkinson. My own guess is that it’s a Central Italian violin from the early 19th century with a later scroll – it shows many signs of artistry, it’s very successful tonally, and it just doesn’t belong anywhere else. The plain slab-cut back and wide-grained table are signs of a country maker, but the f-holes and the model are very distinguished.
The condition is actually pretty good – there’s a repaired crack below the right f-hole, the button has been repaired, and there are filled holes in each c-bout (presumably from some kind of carrying strap), but there’s no other damage, and the original varnish is very attractive and well preserved.
If you’re looking for a small violin with a great sound, this could be the one. It has a smooth and creamy voice, well balanced and musical throughout the register – slightly dark in overall character but surprisingly powerful for its size. It handles all types of repertoire with ease – it’s nimble enough for Corelli, but there’s a nice thick complexity in the sound which comes out best in Romantic classical repertoire. All in all, a bit of a diamond in the rough …!
Length of Back 35.1cm, stop 132/195cm, total length 57.8cm
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