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Michael Appleman

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  1. Hello David, I'm starting to think this violin is older, 1st half of the 18thc, and repaired by Caron at Versailles in 1780. Those old book pages suggest he was reinforcing cracks (or worm damage) in the ribs, unless of course they came from an even later repair. The varnish and workmanship do point more to the Bocquay style pre 1750-ish, as does the nailed on neck. Around 1780, you do still get violins with grooves on the back (Frebrunet, for example) and through necks, but you also start getting early morticed necks. Pre 1750, mostly through necks, but occasionally nailed-on necks. I think you'll need to consult Rampal and Boyer to pin things down better.
  2. Nothing like an NF Vuillaume. A saxon trade fiddle as Mr Saunders wrote.
  3. I think you misunderstood my exclamation point. I was reacting with outrage at the suggestion that this was ugly design. Sorry if I wasn't clear.
  4. Ugly design! (edit: this was not a vote in favor of an opinion. I was trying to express my surprise that one might accuse Maggini of choosing an ugly design. Sorry if I gave the wrong impression. i'm a fan of Maggini violins) One shouldn't under estimate the influence Maggini violins had. Like the Amati brothers, Maggini perished during the plague years of the 1630's, but unlike the Amati family, he didn't have a surviving son to carry on the family shop. As Nicolo Amati carried on, he took in a bunch of assistants, who would go on the spread the cremonese system around the peninsula (and into Austria and southern Germany) As makers started settling in Brescia to fill the void, some must have gotten interested in these "oversized" (by cremonese standards) violins with full arching and long f-holes and started copying them. Remeber, in the 1640's Galileo was looking for a good fiddle for his nephew, and from his educated viewpoint it was natural to look for a cremonese OR a brescian violin. G.B.Rogeri made some copies and must have found they had interesting sound qualities. His buddy Antonio in Cremona must have gotten interested and started making "long" Strads with fuller arching and longer bodies. Everyone around the peninsula, from Joseph Guarneri filius Andrea to Alessandro Gagliano started experimenting with long body stops (200mm). A few years later, Guarneri Del Gesu starts hogging out big long f-holes. Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, but Maggini was doing his own thing, based on a different tradition, and in the end, he influenced his cremonese colleagues profoundly, to the benefit of all violin lovers.
  5. It would be nice if there were books or articles that could give a clear picture of who did what and when, but I'm not aware of any, and in anycase, there's a lot of overlap and cases where one sees different methods coming from the same workshop, as though some days they did one thing and on others they tried something else, or one day one workman did the back and ribs, and at another time another workman was doing that job differently while using the same model. As a general rule, though, one sees the groove in the back on older french work, from the end of the 17thc to the end of the 18thc. French makers I've seen with a groove include Pierray, Bocquay, Guersan, Gaffino, Castagneri, Salomon and Frebrunet. BUT I've seen some of these makers without a groove as well. Big blocks and no groove may well have been present all along the 18thc, but Chappuy is a notable example from the end of the century. I've seen other violins from the 2nd half of the 18th made that way, and this seems to be the prevailing method in Mirecourt until the mid 19th. We should be careful, though, about drawing too many conclusions about how they were working. If you look at the illustration of a lutherie workshop in the Diderot Encyclopedia (published between 1751-1777), there is clearly an outside mold hanging on the wall. If you look at the relics form the Vuillaume workshopk you'll find an inside mold as well as an outside mold. In the Dubroca-Alexander bow shop around the corner form me, they've got an interesting relic that looks like it's from at least the mid-late 19thc. It's a collapsable full violin mold, with both internal and eternal molds fitting together in a way that could allow you to use either or BOTH at the same time!
  6. I think I found it on the Tarisio archives: 49069: Back length is only 359mm. Body stop should be fairly conventional. This violin only has single purfling. It might have been made that way, or may have been cut down. It also looks like the sort of Maggini that's being suspected of having been made by Rogeri or others.
  7. I don't know that fiddle personnally, but I went through a phase of "Rogerini" obsession, and studied a number of violins like it. The extra body length tends to be mostly behind the bridge, so the body stop is often fairly close to normal, usually around 197mm. I came across a few that got as long as 200, and one that was as short as 192 despite a back length of 367. This fiddle, looking at it on the Strad Society site, looks again like the "extra" body length is behind the bridge (look at the afterlengths) and i'd guess it would be in the 197mm body stop range.
  8. Doesn't Milo Stamm stamp the "front" side of his bridge blanks, so that the brand will disappear automatically if one takes down the thickness from the front? Other makers usually put it on the back so if you didn't give a pass on the back you would leave your "Deluxe" visible over the Aubert logo...
  9. Hello Guido, If I brought up parisian makers and early Strad "copyists", it was probably to mention the transition towards more "cremonese" looking interiors, which really shows up in Lupot's work. Around the end of the 18th century, there were more and more Strads in Paris as stars like Viotti made a huge impression playing on them. Makers had them in for repairs and sales, and started to look inside, but meanwhile Mirecourt went on making violins with their traditional method, and as Jacob Saunders rightly pointed out, these features, are pretty ubiquitous. In fact, it's one way to tell if an externally good looking violin came from a big name Paris shop or a "humble" Mirecourt workshop. I've got a Maggini inspired violin which looks externally like it might be from the Bernadel shop, but inside the work looks like Mirecourt. It's unsigned, and it isn't possible to identify it as the work of any one maker or shop. The OP violin looks nice, and something like what the Couturieux shop put out, but without a signature or a brand, pretty tough to give it a clear attribution. French numbers might seem tough, but the hardest thing about speaking the language is pronouncing it. When I arrived in France I was already very proficient at reading and writing the language, but it took me over five years to get the brand of cigarettes I wanted first try at a tabac. Try saying "Rothmanns rouge" in a way that a french person will understand! I don't even want to think about trying to buy a "Trou du Cru" at the cheese shop...
  10. Wow, they filed a lawsuit! The plaintiff is not a newbie in the violin trade. Did he think this could end differently? In the end, what's kind of sad about this story is that the violin probably sounds very good, and would probably make a top level player like Znaider happy as a playing instrument, but the owners have no intention of selling it as an "anonymous violin" and getting their investment back or even making a small profit. They want to make millions, but they won't accept the fact that no buyer will pay millions without a current Beare certificate.
  11. There is a letter in which Paganini praises Vuillaume's metal bows. There is also a painting where he is holding what looks like a "swan head" bow which I saw at Ben Hebbert's place. The painting made Ben think Paganini was using a 1780's style pre-modern bow, but I recognized that shape as that of a Vuillaume metal bow.
  12. I would buy them instantly. You know how to write and you know what you're writing about. For once I'd like to read novels about violins and the violin trade that aren't horrible mash ups with no grounding in reality (I can think of a few that are just infuriatingly dumb). I can't help with the english speaking market, but I could get you in touch with an important literary agent here in France.
  13. N.F. Vuillaume, René Aerts, Hilaire Darche, L.A. Lagarenne, Albert Laurent, Emile Laurent, Georges Mougenot and Charles Poncin in Brussels. Pierre Hel in Lille made a violin for Ysaye that later belonged to Thibaud.
  14. One also usually sees different levels of shrinking between the whalebone and the light wood in the middle, which is kind of visible on Fiddlecollector's example. I don't see those kind of cracks in the OP purfling. Here's some whalebone purfling where one can see the relative shrinking of the wood part:
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