This is a beautifully preserved del Gesu copy by John Lott II, one of England’s finest makers. It’s a top class concert instrument in remarkable condition – a great violin for a soloist but also a highly collectable example.
Amongst the many copyists of Guarneri del Gesu, the two names that stand out are Samuel Nemessanyi and Jack Lott. Both are revered by the rather frightening accuracy of their copies but also for their understanding of sound.
Famously Ida Haendel made her career on a del Gesu which turned out to be a Jack Lott – she gave it up as soon as the ruth was revealed, yet it surely didn’t sound any different for not being a del Gesu!
This violin is loosely based on a mid-period del Gesu, most likely the “Kreisler” according to the certificates from Peter Biddulph and John Dilworth. In all events it’s a violin which succeeds in capturing the spirit of del Gesu rather than just the details. The model is deliberately asymmetrical, the varnish shading and wear patterns very credible, and the scroll is exceptional. Great materials throughout, the workmanship organic and flowing in a way that can only be achieved by someone with a deep understanding of the originals.
The condition is excellent with absolutely no cracks or damages. The vast majority of the visible wear is original to the violin, though there is some retouch to the lower back and to a line of fingernail wear to the right of the fingerboard.
This is a powerful and brilliant instrument well suited to a large space. Supremely well balanced throughout the register and able to handle any amount of bow pressure without cracking, this violin will hold its own against a grand piano or a large orchestra.
The E string is especially good, silvery, dangerously loud yet still sweet…
You need a big technique to get the best out of this violin but if you can get on the right side of it there are unlimited reserves of sound – always focused and crisp, even right against the bridge.
There are no weak points on this violin – it’s in rude health in spite of being nearly 200 years old, and it will doubtless keep going for another 2 centuries or more.
A fantastic example from the most intriguing of English makers!