Johannes Franciscus Cuypers (II) was the last in a long line of Dutch makers. All Cuypers instruments share very similar traits, and all are highly prized for their superb tonal qualities. This is a lovely and fine sounding example in great condition.

This is a very rare example of the work of JF Cuypers II, all the more notable because of its absolute adherence to the family tradition of making – in other words it’s almost indistinguishable from a Cuypers made in the 18th century.

As Serge Stam explains in his certificate, JF Cuypers II started out as a violin maker, but was lured away by the greater profits to be made dealing in pianos. This is why there are so few examples of his work remaining.

Yet he was clearly a very talented maker, somewhat unnconcerned with accuracy, but showing great flair, bold choice of materials, and a real gift for tone. The model is broad with elongated corners, and these features in combination with a tight horizontally curled maple make for a very beautiful back. The table is of unsually broad grained spruce, made with two non-matching pieces, and the f-holes are archaic and slightly asymmetrical.

The condition of the violin is excellent, with no repairs or damages – the original varnish is also beautifully preserved.

The tone of this violin is very much like the varnish, honey-gold and luminous. It’s an exceptional sounding instrument, very responsive, smooth and rounded but also brilliant, and perfectly suited to an exposed role in a small ensemble.

As with the construction, the sound seems much more 18th century than 19th, with not the slightest hint of brashness or brutality, yet still clean, articulate and projecting.

Cuypers family instruments have long been cited as proof that great violins (or cellos) don’t need to be Italian, and here we have the kind of sound you would expect from a better Gofriller or Grancino, for a fraction of the price.

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