Here we have another excellent Paul Bailly from 1890 – it’s a very responsive instrument in excellent condition, and a great example of this maker’s work.

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.

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