martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. Jacob, Gustave is one of the 3 sons of ASP Bernardel. The firm of Gand & Bernardel was formed through the alliance of Gustave & Ernest Bernardel and Charles Gand. In 1891 the firm split up and its operations were carried on under the name Gustave Bernardel - I'm not sure how active Gustave himself was, I've always thought of the firm as more of a workshop. Gand & Bernardel lasted for over 25 years, and in that time their production seems to have been pretty unreliable in terms of tone. When I did those tonal ratings of instruments at auction I only rated one Gustave
  2. Well, I feel I'm setting myself up as a chump but let's do it. Honestly, one of the first things I would want to do would be to take some photos of the inner work and see what Blank Face and Jacob think. Fiddlecollector is very knowledgeable about French instruments and he's made some very strong points. I'm perhaps more familiar than some with the French underbelly trade, but that's hardly a proud boast! Too much time spent sitting in bars on the Rue de Rome ....
  3. At a cursory glance I would say the purfling on front and back is quite different. The front purfling has very consistent blacks where the back is very thin on the inner black line in places. Maybe that's just the bit we're looking at ...? Also the back purfling corner joint is a bit crude where the front has a very precise and commercial sort of butt joint. But none of that is conclusive! Of course I'd be interested to see it, and UV would tell us a lot, but you really need to take it to Rampal if you want to settle the matter in your own mind.
  4. My take on this, for what it's worth, is a kind of synthesis of what everyone else has said! The varnish on the body doesn't look to me like the varnish on the scroll. The scroll looks very credible in model and varnish for a Laberte/Mangenot instrument, the condition is unusually good but the varnish on it has that flat brittle Mirecourt look. The brand is good, though there is no way of knowing if it's original to the cello. A Mirecourt cello should have purfling corners that travel into the C bouts, but this isn't a hard and fast rule. The front and back corners loo
  5. Yes - I think that accounts for the strange discolouration ...
  6. Without its original silver face and maker's mark don't think anyone would want to guess the maker of the stick As a general rule Hills dated the sticks from the early 1930s, so most likely this bow pre-dates that.
  7. I don't think that many contributors here understand the mechanisms by which great players end up playing extremely valuable instruments. I have never come across a real-life situation where a promising young talent decides whether to make their career on a great Strad from a foundation or a nice new violin by Patrick Robin or whoever. The fact that double blind experiments have been set up and have revealed interesting results doesn't mean that this ever happens "at the coalface" ie. in actual decision-making scenarios. It doesn't ....
  8. Wood ageing is not in itself enough to explain the superiority of 300 year old violins, since the majority of violins of this age are obviously not superior in any way to violins that are younger. Therefore, if we were to attribute some "specialness" to classical Cremonese instruments that was connected with hermicellulose degradation, it would have to be in combination with something else, for example the unique use of a preservative or unique properties in the wood at the time of making. I think this is where Don is headed and I like his unfussy experimental approach. On the subjec
  9. Arzt was a relatively unpolished Hungarian maker and I wouldn't make any big claims for him ... if you consider that the best Hungarian makers from the 20th century are massively undervalued, it's not much of a surprise that someone like Arzt has no cachet. There's also a general prejudice against anything that was made in a country that's now perceived as Eastern Bloc or ex-Communist. And very few Hungarian violins make it into British or American auctions. With regard to Tarisio and Amati biographies, these are just clickbait regurgitated lists of mainstream makers - if you study
  10. I don't think the matter is nearly as interesting as you make it out to be. If we're going to be rigorous, let's just look at the violin we sold and the T2 violin and debate whether they are by the same maker. I don't see the relevance of an auction listing for an alleged instrument for which there are no photos, or of a Maestronet discussion of one (and only one) instrument with an apocryphal label. Personally I see the T2 instrument as being by the same hand as the one we sold. Both are rather hurriedly built but very characteristic. I'm wondering where you see significant differen
  11. The apparent glut of 1966 Arzt violins may be a bit of a "webstat" brought on my the fact that one we sold a while back created a bit of a flurry of activity on Pinterest. I can't find any others dated 1966, and the one we sold was the only one I have seen other than the recent T2 sale. Have you found others from 1966? Yes, Arzt is listed by Benedek as one of the makers who worked for (not necessarily in) the "English Workshop". Incidentally he died in 1997 at the age of 97!
  12. I think it's very unfortunate - young classical players are indoctrinated from an early age and rarely get an opportunity to examine their own prejudices. However, I don't see that changing, given that classical music is in itself an act of preserving history and tradition, centred around the hero-worship of individual genius. You can see how the same mindset applies to the repertoire and to the instruments.
  13. The instruments they play operate with much simpler physics ...
  14. Good sound can come in all sorts of different packages - some more attractive or desirable than others. History, rarity, provenance, all can be very important, and ultimately the player's confidence in their instrument contributes as much to their expressiveness as any physical properties.
  15. OTOH we do have 3 instruments by Giuseppe Desiato at the moment, all from a quartet, all in a very pure state. He was assistant to Jorio ...
  16. I think that astroturf is a bit shaggy for Subbuteo Reminds me of a schoolboy joke about an obscure African tribe who lived in a savannah where the grass was unusually tall - the Wethehelawi
  17. Yes, a couple though I didn't really study them ... there was one in a London sale very recently. But I was careful not to give an opinion on this violin, just to say it looks like if could be Neapolitan of the period. Me too, though I think we're just looking at rather open grain
  18. This would count for me as a "minor condition issue" along with the 2 small cracks in the left f-hole, the button repair and what appears to be a reglued back seam. An authentic Jorio in pure condition would surely be more. For me the astroturf visible in the background would merit a more significant discount ...
  19. Jorio is a pretty well known Neapolitan maker. In terms of pricing €70k seems about right assuming only minor condition issues, regular size and an independent certificate ... The violin looks quite credible for something Neapolitan of the period.
  20. Anything that's of real quality, all original, great weight and balance, strong stick, excellent condition goes for close to retail at Tarisio, sometimes above retail if there are two super-keen buyers who just have to have it ... and I have to be honest and say that most things go for more than I believe they are worth or than I would want to sell them for. The sense of a single opportunity and of competition simply makes people go soft in the head, and the online platforms, ticking clocks etc are very addictive. The idea that items at auction sell for 1/3 to 1/2 of their retail value is
  21. Hi John, thanks for explaining ... If it's more like a hobby then I can understand the appeal. My perspective as a dealer is so different. Clients who come to try bows with us (professionals and amateurs) are generally extremely picky, and out of 20 good bows in their price range they will only consider one or maybe two as being remotely suitable. So for such individuals the idea of buying "blind" at auction would be madness. Then there's the fact that I go to pretty much every auction viewing and try every bow that's offered. Of the 1000 or so bows that are at auction every 12
  22. I can't understand how it works out to buy 2 or 3 bows at auction, without playing them, to end up with only one (if you're lucky)that you really like. Wouldn't it make more sense to have a few top examples sent to you on approval by a reliable dealer rather than wait 3 months to put them back into auction, a roll of the dice, and then another 6 weeks to be paid?