Paul Bailly Violin, Paris circa 1880


Paul Bailly Violin
Paul Bailly is definitely the most interesting maker to have come out of the Vuillaume shop, and we always like to have a couple of his violins in our stock. This is a very pretty small pattern violin (LOB 35.1cm) dating from his first Paris sojourn.

Paul 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.

This violin is a lovely Del Gesu copy, beautifully preserved, with a carefree elegance to the work and to the varnish. No condition issues to report other than a small repaired wing crack to the right f-hole. There’s been a bit of retouching to wear on the table, but otherwise the original varnish is relatively unblemished.

This violin is as un-French in sound as it is in design. Many of the Vuillaume makers produced powerful instruments, but with a stiff metallic edge. In contrast, this violin has a dark and fruity sound, very rich, undeniably “big”, but incapable of shrillness. It’s a smooth ride, very grown-up, quite unexpected for such a small model until you consider that it’s based on Del Gesu, the only classical maker who consistently produced a big dark sound for a small back length.

This is a thoroughly professional instrument which works equally well with a featherlight bow stroke or the full sumo approach. Great in high positions, utterly unflappable, with a muscular rounded voice.

Dimensions: Length of back 35.1cm, stop 129/193mm, total length 58.7cm

Certificate: Jean-Jacques Rampal, Vatelot-Rampal, Paris 2018

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Paul Bailly Violin label  

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Ref: SR177

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