Vincenzo Panormo Violin, London circa 1800

Price on application

Vincenzo Panormo ViolinThis is a beautifully preserved example of the work of Vincenzo Panormo from his second London period. It’s an outstanding concert instrument from the most highly regarded of English makers

Vincenzo Panormo is a fascinating figure in the history of violin-making, a Sicilian Neapolitan who ended up working in Marseille, London, Paris and Dublin, constantly on the move to escape famine, war, or changes in religious or political climate.

Intevitably the Italians think of him as an Italian maker, the French think of him as French, and the English think of him as English. Stylistically it would seem fairest to describe him as an Italian maker who adopted various points of style on his travels. He was an early adopter of the Stradivari model, and his work is very distinctive – particularly unusual are his golden varnish and his use of relatively broad grained spruce.

This instrument is very fine, even for a Panormo. The model is bold and beautiful, nicely set off by a one-piece back. The table wood is first class, with unusually straight and even grain. The flame in the ribs is dramatically offset, and all of these features are enhanced by a lustrous but restrained gold varnish.

The violin is branded below the tailpin.

The condition is very good – there are two finely repaired and near-invisible cracks running down from the f-holes, also some minor edge cracks. The top edge on the treble side of the table has been replaced. No voice cracks or internal patches, back ribs and scroll in excellent condition, and the original varnish in a remarkable state of preservation.

This is a violin which perfectly illustrates the stupidity of concepts such as “Italian sound” or “English sound” – it’s just a great violin. Its essential voice is surprisingly similar to its appearance – broad, confident, golden! It’s very even in response, and the entire register has a sweet and fruity character with a very satisfying crunch at the start of the note. Slightly dark, it has just the right character to be a 2nd violin in a quartet – it’s articulate and very classy, suprememly musical even in the higher reaches, but it’s a blender not a shrieker. It’s also very at home with big Romantic repertoire and it will take a heavy bow.

Overall this is an unusually versatile instrument with a mature and enveloping sound which would suit a player at any level.

Dimensions: length of back 35.6cm, stop 130/194mm

Certificate: John Dilworth, Richmond 2019

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Vincenzo Panormo Violin front photo Vincenzo Panormo Violin back photo Vincenzo Panormo Violin side photo Vincenzo Panormo Violin scroll photo

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