Very little is known about the Rovetta family, and although Antonio Rovetta receives a brief mention in Lütgendorff, it’s more likely that he was a musical instrument dealer than a maker – the violins which are known with his label are all very different, some like this one completed after his death.
Safest to describe this as a nice Italian workshop instrument of the period, made on a kind of exaggerated Antoniazzi model. It has an unpretentious charm, and is made with excellent materials – the figured oppio back is particularly attractive.
The overall condition is pretty good – there’s a rather sloppy but solid repair to the top of the scroll, a small crack in the upper right rib, and one well repaired table crack.
From a design point of view this is quite a curious violin – lightly built, with a very deep recurve to the arching. The result is very sucessful tonally – a warm, smooth sound, quite creamy, and with excellent volume. It’s very responsive and fun to play, and would be ideal for jazz or traditional repertoire.
Many late 19th century Italian violins sound like nails on a blackboard, so it’s a pleasant surprise to find such a usable and even sound from such an obscure maker.
All in all, a great sounding Italian violin at a rock bottom price!
Dimensions: length of back 35.7cm, stop 131/195mm
Certificate: Jean-Jacques Rampal, Vatelot-Rampal, Paris 2019
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