When it comes to getting more sound for your pound, the makers of the closely related Prague and Vienna schools have to be at the top of anyone’s list. This violin is a perfect illustration, a beautiful early 19th century Strad copy with excellent tone and great playability which would run rings around many an Italian violin of the period.

The big name in Viennese violin making around the turn of the 19th century is Franz Geissenhof, and this violin was made by someone who worked for him or learnt from him, possibly Franz Werner. It’s a finely made Strad copy in the later Geissenhof style, with broad flat arching, a very precise and well-rounded scroll, broad round edges carrying less colour, and typical pinning in the back.

The violin is in good restored condition – it has some replaced edges, a pegbox graft, and a couple of very neatly repaired cracks in the table including a patched post crack. All repairs are executed to a very high standard, in no way compromising the aesthetics or structural integrity of the instrument

The early 19th century was something of a heyday for violin-making, as one school after another started to experiment with the Stradivari form. In Paris, Prague, Vienna and London, suddenly a lot of things fell into place. These violins are now old enough to have acquired the unique friable tone of old wood, and from time to time one stumbles upon a complete gem. This is one such violin – supremely easy to play, very articulate and complex, free from any weakness in the register, warm yet clear. Of course some people will insist on shelling out nearly 10 times the price for a Scarampella, but if you’re just looking for sound, look no further. An outstanding violin for the price.

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