martin swan

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Everything posted by martin swan

  1. The top eye on the left f-hole looks a bit wonky, particularly on its right side. The right f-hole looks pinched generally in comparison to the left, particularly as it approaches the lower eye, but maybe the table is deformed here and the right edge of the f-hole has sunk? The top eye looks smaller than the left, but maybe it's the angle of the photo.
  2. sorry about the photo - it's a photo of the relevant page of the sothebys catalogue. I can re-attach it in a bigger size if you like?
  3. There's a quality about some of the small dunts in the table which suggests they might have been put there pre-varnishing.
  4. Photos are a bit small but I'd say Dresden circa 1880. Then Bohemian, then Berlin ..... A good trade violin. Even "mass export" violins were often very nicely made, though the scroll guy in that shop looks a bit better than the f-hole guy!
  5. I have a Peccate school bow that could do with an expert's eye. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Paul Childs? I have googled without sucess. Please use my website email address Martin Swan Violins
  6. Yes this looks more like the Sothebys one, except for the varnish. The varnish on this one seems like Jeremy's, and looks "right" - the Sothebys varnish felt quite strange, which made me wonder if the violin was really mid-19th century. But maybe it had just been heavily retouched or cleaned with something silicone based. Jeremy, my mistake - I'd thought yours was also a copy of the same Paganini-owned instrument. I'll have to go back to the photos, but on yours the upper curve of the C bouts looked much flatter, and the angle of the lower f-hole tongue seemed to be situated much further out towards the edges. In fact the f-hole geometry seemed very different, although the curves weren't dis-similar. The corners in general looked more squat on yours.
  7. This is fascinating - I wouldn't have said your Lembock and the one at Sothebys were by the same maker! Particularly since these were meant to have been copied directly from the Cannone. Am I right that yours is also "Gabriel Lembock fecit secundum Josephi Guarneri ex Nicolai Paganini Concertuosa Violina"? If so, there's a lot of detail that looks very dis-similar and couldn't be taken from the same violin by the same exert copyist. Yours looks more like it to me .....! Do you know the name of the gent who certified the Sothebys one? Thilo Kurten Dusseldorf .... By the way the Spiegel looks beautiful. Wish it was mine.
  8. Following on from the thread about Nemessanyi, here's a picture of the Lembock that reached £30,000 at Sothebys. The catalogue estimate was £7-10,000, and beyond about £8,000 the bidding was entirely between two buyers, one of whom (the eventual buyer) was striding very visibly around the back of the room like his life depended on ownership of a Lembock. We are currently seeing annual doubling of book prices for many Bohemian & Hungarian violin makers, lesser French bow makers etc. etc. The system is inherently inflationary, but it's pretty staggering to see a record price being set that's so far from the previous one. Martin Swan Violins
  9. I'm afraid this violin may always remain a mystery ... it reminds me of two violins I have owned. One had a spurious label "Joseph Beltrami", the other had an equally spurious "Meinradus Frank" label. Both were lovely sounding violins, and both came out of Bohemian workshops. The fact that a violin has a fantastic sound is no indication that it's a "good" violin, and it's ingenuous to think that just because a violin sounds great one ought to be able to recognize the maker! Lots of French trade violins play better than many contemporaneous named Italian violins worth 50 times the price. Anonymous violins can play superbly, and violins over £100,000 play very badly - there is only the most tenuous connection between antique value and sound, though very few people in the trade like to admit this. Neck grafts - means nothing. I didn't refer to it because in my experience 90% of neck grafts are repairs - we have discussed this at length elsewhere. Anyway, I wish you luck, it's a lot of fun trying to find out about an instrument like this, but be prepared for disappointment. It's not unusual for experts to dump on an instrument from a great height, and they often do it for reasons unconnected to the instrument itself. There's also so much room for judgment when it comes to valuation - what they would pay for it today (about 10% of retail), what they'd pay in an auction (30% of retail), what they'd pretend to be giving you as a trade-in on one of their own overpriced violins (70% of retail), what they'd sell it for (retail), what they think you should insure it for (110% of retail), or what they'd like you to think it's worth when you're thinking of asking them to do expensive repairs (200% of retail). These are all "valuations" - I exaggerate of course, but I think you understand my point. Keep us posted! ps. for those who are interested, I'm starting a new thread on Lembock in the Auction Scroll on auction prices ... Martin Swan Violins
  10. Still think you should send photos to Bromptons .... I like the last set of photos. But will stand by my feeling that it's Bohemian, and I also think there may be a bit of antiqueing - but this was quite common even in the mid 19th century.
  11. Sothebys' Lembock was 14 3/16.
  12. You're assuming that whoever bought it was familiar with Nemessanyi. I think a lot of people who buy at Bromptons are orchestral players - quite often they go on sound, and if there's a piece of paper saying something nice then that's worth a few more thousand! Bromptons are one of the few auctions where you can try out instruments in a hall well in advance - this works very much to their advantage when it comes to nicely made and great sounding violins of dubious provenance. In my (limited) experience, auctions are no different from any other part of the violin trade - at least 50% of what's sold is assumed by its buyers to be far better than it is, fools rush in etc... If I had £100 for every fake Bela Szepessy I've seen at UK auctions I could afford to buy one (a fake that is). Jeremyamoto - what about that Lembock that went for £30,000 at Sothebys in March (lot 196)? I was there, and the London dealers were sure it was a fake, certificate notwithstanding.
  13. Retail prices for a great Spiegel may be $25,000 in the States, but auction prices are about £5-8000 over here - since this one went for £14,000 it's safe to assume it was bought by someone who thought it was a Nemessanyi (with certificate!).
  14. Interesting - I'm sure Bromptons also doubted the Conia certificate, since they avoided stating "by" Nemessanyi. Reached a pretty ludicrous price on the basis of that certificate I would have said. Could you go back to the top of the post, check the photos, and tell us if you think it's a Nemessanyi? I think the scroll is pretty lumpy, though I like the violin as a whole ....
  15. Brilliant - thanks for that link .... As I thought, the E is in a league of its own. Very interesting that Eudoxa D have the lowest tension all round, perhaps explains why people who like them can't get on with anything else!
  16. I'm a skinny person with a really long neck! My main problem is that I can't get any of the strings far enough away from my fingers .... Has anyone got any data on relative string tensions? I have a feeling that the E is under far more tension, but I'd like to know for sure. What about using more fingerboard relief on the E string to allow one to drop the bridge on that side - is that addressing the same issue? Don't like it myself but some people seem to insist on it.
  17. Can I just chip in that the only person who linked this violin with nemessanyi was the original poster, and along the lines of "he's the only mid-19th century Bohemian I've heard of ...."! Personally I think we're all barking up the wrong tree - I don't think the scroll is good enough to be from that level of maker, and the arching around the f-holes looks a bit "dull". I think Bohemian, not Hungarian. But I only really know anything about French violins, and then only between about 1890 and 1920!
  18. Jacob - if it's nae moving ye can deep fry it! I would refer you to the back cover of my album "The Order of Things" (photo attached) - this is a poster from an actual fish&chip shop in Broughton Street, Edinburgh. Deep-fried pizza, haggis, white pudding, and of course mars bars! I think you could put rather more faith in the existence of a deep-fried mars bar than an accurate Stefano Conia certificate.
  19. Mr. Burgess, I'm very interested to hear your thoughts on this, and it's good to have a reasoned explanation of the "Weisshaar tilt". (btw the experiment simply doesn't work for me, I just seem to put the violin where I want it ....) However, I think this tilt is more easily achieved by using a slightly different chinrest, or dropping the shoulder-rest foot on the treble side - doesn't need to involve removal of wood! Perhaps this relates back to whether you use a shoulder-rest or not? For myself I am seriously inconvenienced by having the E string approach the table too much, but I do have the longest fingers I've seen on a violinist .... and my right index finger quickly makes a characteristic divot in the top right corner of every violin I play for more than a week. So I'm inclined to keep the E string up as much as possible, but this is over-ridden by considerations of sound/response. I for one have definitely found in setting up new violins that the E string down-bearing affects the overall response more than any other individual string (does anyone know the relative tensions involved?), and I try to keep it low! Can't win ... that's why I started the thread. Martin Swan Violins
  20. Maybe Stefano Conia's certificates have the same hollow ring as his violins! Without the Ottoman invasions, Hungarian cooking would be insufferably dull - Scotland likewise saved from culinary misery by the influence of the East ...
  21. I was making precisely that point about slack use of the term "Bohemian", note the inverted commas. I am of course more careful - you might even say I walk on eggshells around the former Austro-Hungarian empire, particularly Budapest (and the bits of Croatia which still have landmines). But I think Hungary ends up in most compendia of Bohemian makers ... and the term is certainly used in auction rooms to cover a multitude of unidentifieds!
  22. and now the link .....!!nemessanyi sold at bromptons
  23. Here's a Nemessanyi cartified by Stefano Conia - formerly known as Stefan Konja, and one of the Konja family who know a bit about Hungarian violins! Doesn't look anything like yours!
  24. Where are you based? You could always send photos to Bromptons Auctioneers for an online valuation (free) bromptons online valuation. Very nice looking violin, which seems to me to have had a long life in the hands of an orchestral player or two. And worthy of a more expert eye than mine. I'd be very interested in the opinions of others as I don't recognize the maker, but there are some very nice features, particularly the corners and the edgework. I would bid quite a lot on it if I saw it in an auction and it sounded good. But it sounds good, even from here ....! Yes I would say "Bohemian" (incorporating Hungary!). I think someone should be able to identify this violin, it's quite characteristic ...
  25. First off, I'm not an expert! Can you post a photo? A genuine Nemessanyi isn't remotely cheap - though obviously you don't pay the silly money for it being Italian. There are THOUSANDS of "Bohemian" makers from the mid 19th Century, the term covers all of what is now Czech Republic, Slovakia, some of Austria, Hungary, and quite a bit of Germany (have I missed anything?) - but if a "famous appraiser" can't give you a clue from a good set of photos then it's unlikely to be by a well-known name. Did you buy this violin already or are you thinking of buying it? Martin Swan Violins