Hulinsky is one of the most interesting Prague makers of the 18th century, and this is a very refined example of his work. Beautiful craftsmanship, great wood, and a first class sound.
Tomáš Hulinsky is thought to be the most talented pupil of Jan Eberle, and his instruments have something which sets them apart from the mainstream of Prague makers. Given our enthusiasm for the Prague makers, that’s really saying something …
The most significant thing about this violin is that it follows Stradivari, and yet it was made some 30 years before Lupot et al. are said to have “discovered” Stradivari. The model is very flat, the f-holes are elegantly Cremonese, and the model is disctictly Stradivarian.
The quality of work is exceptional – the scroll is very precise and harmonious, the arching is well conceived, and the materials and the varnish are quite beautiful. The figured maple used for the back is unique, and the fiery red varnish creates quite an impression.
The condition is generally very good – there’s some wear to all the corners, and there are two or three well repaired cracks to the table, including a bassbar crack. There’s also a very intricate and beautifully executed repair to a small area of damage in the lower right back.
This is one of our “campfire Strads”, an affordable violin that has the sort of tone that would normally necessitate selling your house. There are two things that make it affordable. The first is the condition, a bit tatty though properly restored and structually sound. The second is the fact that it’s a Prague violin!
In spite of the demonstrable superiority of the Prague makers when it comes to sound, they are still relatively unknown within the trade. Yet this violin has the sort of refined and limpid tone which you would look for in a fine Cremonese instrument, easy under the ear but with great projection. It’s responsive and articulate, and it can also take heavy bow pressure – mature and well-rounded, with no dead spots or nasty notes, generally bright but with a solid core. As with all great violins, it has an open and neutral character with some richness in the overtones, and it would make an ideal instrument for a quartet leader or chamber music professional who needs a sound that’s at once clear and involving.