GlennYorkPA

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  1. A Beautiful Case

    That's a good way of putting it. W.E. Hill & Sons, like Herter Brothers in USA, assembled an excellent team of craftsmen specializing in furniture skills such as wood selection and assembly, veneering, inlay. marquetry, metalwork fittings etc. Not only has the wood moved or cracked very little over the last 100+ years, the cases even smell nice when the lid is lifted. Glenn
  2. A Beautiful Case

    Richf You are correct. The case now in Dimitri's collection only came to light quite recently and several years after my book was published in 2008. The book only recorded two Apostles, the one commissioned by Tsar Nicholas 11 and the Isaac Stern one. Not even Ricci's magnificent example is included so you see why an update is indicated. I have now located a statistically significant number of Apostles (Hill rectangular Art cases) and the corresponding dart cases (the one in the original post being the lastest) that an entire chapter is now in the works for 'golden age' Hill cases (1880 - 1920). I was shooting for publication of the 2nd edition this year but it will now be 2018. Glenn
  3. A Beautiful Case

    Yes, breaking news, Tourte had a factory - LOL. I thought Joachim's reaction to the Strad was more interesting............ wow, now I have a red one to complete the set! Deans, the reason I collect the cases is precisely because I can't afford the fiddles so they reside in virtual form inside these amazing cases. Glenn
  4. A Beautiful Case

    Jeff, I think Brad is correct regarding the rectangular cases. They were definitely intended to grace a music room rather than act as a transportation device. That said, the good state of preservation of these cases is usually due to the fact that they came with a cover, usually leather, that had a handle in the more usual side position. The dart shaped cases are much more comfortable to carry with the top handle although a front positioned handle would be better. The trouble with that is that it would interfere with the locking key. Glenn
  5. A Beautiful Case

    Hi Dimitri, It's true that this dart-shaped case is from the same period as the apostles. In both cases, the choice of veneers was exceptional and every one was unique in some details. For example, yours is the only one I ever saw with flush, military-style handles recessed into the ends thus eliminating projecting hardware. Odd, therefore, that there are projecting latches on yours but flush, sliding latches on mine. Yes, all metal fittings, including hinges, are solid brass but there seems to have been a thin protective plating of something (gold?) which wears off the most touched parts. Any idea how brass can be treated to prevent oxidation/discoloration? My registry pics of your case below. Glenn
  6. A Beautiful Case

    I thought this might be of interest............ This fine case by W.E. Hill & Sons was made c1900 intended to be pleasing and beautiful, made of the finest possible materials and workmanship, as receptacles worthy of fine violins. “The most careful attention has been paid to every detail of construction, and the locks and flush bolts are all specially made after our own patterns. We may mention that the lock is so made that if it be damaged it can be taken out without disturbing in the least the woodwork or the lining of the case. The loop to contain the point of the bow is stiffened to protect the head. Without enumerating further details, we think we are justified in stating that no such cases as these have ever been made before. To show that these cases have already met with some recognition we may mention that the beautiful violin case of mahogany and satinwood, in which a Stradivari violin was presented to Dr Joachim on the occasion of his Jubilee was made by us.” In 1889, English friends and admirers of Joachim, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Joachim's debut recital in London, presented him with "an exceptionally fine" violin made in 1715 by Antonio Stradivari, called "Il Cremonese”. According to a contemporary account - ‘It is a “red” Strad, accompanied by a gold-mounted bow, from the famous factory of Tourte. When the outer leather case is opened a fine case of Honduras mahogany of English make, is disclosed, and on it is the legend: “To Joseph Joachim, in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of his public appearance. A mark of admiration and esteem from English friends, April 13, 1889.” History records that Joachim was delighted with the Strad : “You could not have chosen a better outward sign of your appreciation,” he said, “than this red Strad. I own already a yellow and a deep brown Strad, but I have always longed for a red Strad,” I have been unable to trace the original Joachim case but this is its twin and a grade higher than the one they made for Sarasate which can be seen in the Conservatorio de Musica in Madrid, Spain. Glenn
  7. Antiquing vs. Real Age ??

    RichF, You raise and interesting question and I think it well established that simulated aging effects have been practiced on new violins almost since the invention of violins. There is also the parallel activity of giving additional aging to instruments that already have some significant age. I never thought much about that but I suppose it is most likely to occur in the workshop of dealers who are preparing a violin for resale along with necessary repairs. I don't see evidence of fake aging on the pictures you provide (but you don't show the apparent fake graft). The wood selection seems nice both back and front but others are more competent that me to estimate age and origin. My guess is c. 1850 German. Glenn
  8. I don't think the mechanism is well understood but clearly some aging change takes place in the wood at the molecular level. It becomes more opaque with passing years and the effect is most noticeable at the 80-100 year mark. I use one of those fiber optic inspection lights which I insert through an f hole. I aim the light at the underside of the belly in a darkened room. Wiggle it around and the moving light patch is clearly seen from the outside on newish wood but on reaching 200 years, nothing will be seen. I think it's a more reliable indicator of age than your 'crack' idea. As a side comment, the opacity seems to be a purely surface phenomenon. Ancient beams taken from old churches and barns are as fresh as ever once the outer surface is removed so using this wood is not a shortcut to producing an 'old' instrument. I hope this helps. Glenn
  9. If it's really 80 years old, the top will be opaque. Younger spruce is translucent. Glenn
  10. The Case Survey

    You'll be needing something robust for the trip. Something like this? Glenn
  11. CONTEST: Worst scroll ever

    Is this quirky, incompetent or just a different aesthetic? I truly don't know. Glenn
  12. Terenzio Riegel

    I'm sorry but I have no idea. He was only repairing in the time I knew him but this seems a good moment to show the label inside my violin. As you see, he didn't number them. Glenn
  13. Terenzio Riegel

    Yes, they are doing lovely work in China these days, if you know where to look. I couldn't find a western maker willing to work with wood as wild as this but a pupil of Zheng Quan was willing to undertake the commission. Glenn
  14. Shiny

    You have it exactly right. I once went into an antique furniture shop and was shocked to find it full of reproductions. The owner, seeing my astonishment, explained that all the pieces were genuine antiques that had been 'lovingly' restored. I quickly left. You shouldn't need anti dazzle glasses to admire wood. Glenn
  15. Terenzio Riegel

    Brad, Remembering something Terenzio once said, I took a look inside my violin and there, on the upper and lower blocks, is this same stamp. Do many/most modern makers brand internally this way? Glenn