Paul Bailly is definitely the most interesting maker to have come out of the Vuillaume shop, and this is the second of three violins of his which we will be offering. Bailly was a tireless experimenter – he also moved house a lot, working in Paris, Brussels, London, New York, Reims, Leeds, and finally Paris again! Very few makers worked to so many different models, and yet his style is always distinctive, with a softness around the edges quite uncharacteristic of French making in this period, and much more faithful to the classical instruments he copied. His London violins are particularly highly prized.
This is a superb Strad model violin (possibly a ‘Betts’ copy) dating from Bailly’s time in London, and one of the nicest examples I’ve seen. It has the looseness and confidence of style which is so lacking in Vuillaume’s output. The condition is excellent overall, though the neck has been reset at some point – there’s a neatly repaired crack to the right of the fingerboard and a tell-tale hairline crack in the edgework to the left of the button. The original varnish is very well preserved – a few scratches here and there but still thick and lustrous.
This is another outstanding Paul Bailly, also quite dark and un-French! It’s a big and bold sounding violin, very powerful but still mellow, quite unlike a Derazey or a Blanchard for example. With this quality of making there’s very little to be said – there’s a wide dynamic range, a wide range of colours, great response, great sustain, and an essential voice that’s not too clinical and not too fuzzy. So many players make the mistake of going for a focused and penetrating sound, when they actually spend their entire working lives trying to blend with other players! This violin, however, just wants to make friends …
A great example from a great maker, and an ideal choice for a professional orchestral player.
Length of back 35.6cm, stop 131/196mm, total length 58.7cm
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