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Everything posted by GlennYorkPA

  1. What would you two lofty intellects and renowned scholars consider 'evidence of provenance'?
  2. Hi Dimitri, Great to see that Cremona's Museo del Violino finally has a Stradivari violin case in display. Not quite as nice as the decorated one in the Chi Mei collection in Taiwan nor bearing any reference to Stradivari (as the Chi Mei one has) but still quite a nice example of a 17thC holster case before Stradivari transitioned to the more familiar design we recognise today. Glenn
  3. Most collections are sold when the owner has passed. In this case, I'm planning to relocate to Europe, Covid permitting, and I didn't like the idea of traveling with all these cases. Also, the timing seems good as Dimitri Musafia tells me his business in cases is booming. It seems that enforced isolation it not only encouraging folks to remodel their homes but also to upgrade the accommodation for their favorite violins. Glenn
  4. It's a fair question I'm happy to answer. The first would appear to be a Hill apostle case veneered with precious satinwood from east India or Ceylon but instead of the coveted Hill name tags it has hand engraved tags for KB Dvorak (Karel Bor. Dvorak, Prague, Bohemia). Jan Spidlen was kind enough to help me trace the case back to France rather than London so it was of enormous help in tracing the evolution of fine cases from the Hill workshop. That's of enormous historical interest to me but I felt would not excite the attention of the average collector for whom the Hill brand is now most revered. The other case was specially made for me by GL Cases in Taiwan. I consider their leather cases to be some of the finest ever made but most people find them 'too heavy'. Their leatherwork comes from a long tradition of working in leather stitched goods but I was unhappy with the metal hardware, lock and latches. These were solid brass but with a shiney finish and I know from experience they don't age gracefully. They soon look tacky so the Company, bless them, had some fittings specially made for me with an untreated satin finish - gorgeous and eternal. They put a dedication plaque inside the lid; I couldn't part with such a personal gift. Glenn
  5. It was very hard letting them go. A collection is more than the sum of the parts and I can't see a similar collection being assembled again in my lifetime. The jewels are in the auction but I kept a couple back because I felt that nobody would be able to appreciate them as much as me.
  6. Philip, I have written about this type of American case and Skinner have one included one in the auction (lot 1070). Sometimes a lot is for 2/3 cases grouped together. I believe they were made for violins by a gun case maker trying to widen his market. Glenn
  7. Hi Michael, I'm sure you could squeeze one or two more examples into your collection, particularly as they come with impeccable provenance! Interesting you home in on the bow support as I think the ideal solution has not yet been discovered. Skinner and I have argued over the nationality of Lot 1009 (Spanish or Italian) but the bow arrangement is wonderful. Not clear from the pictures but there are two hinged compartments in the lid which simply unlatch to reveal the bows. The most elaborate arrangement is 1025 made for the Soil Stradivari. It has gilded sliders which cleverly hook onto the frog leaving an unobstructed view of the bows once installed.
  8. Yes, there are more Strads in the case section than in the violins.
  9. Yes, but it's the Portuguese of Brazil rather than Portugal. I picked it up during my years in South America although I must admit my Spanish is better. Spain would be a better 'fit' for me but the tax incentives in Portugal are more enticing. That said, I was in Oporto in January checking out property prices, cost of living etc and it seems everyone spoke English. You must find the same in Germany.
  10. The warmth and sun are great attractions, as are the lower property prices and cost of living. I went there in January and had everything sorted. Lower taxes, utility bills and excellent healthcare. Then came Covid. My travel radius is now about 15 miles and mainly limited to the grocery store.
  11. I was planning to retire to Portugal.
  12. Hi Deans. Thanks for the concern and I’m pleased to report I’m still in the land of the living. It’s unusual for entire collections to be offered for sale while the collector is still alive but that’s what’s happened. In a sense, Rue had it right. Back in January, I planned to return to Europe and needed to ‘declutter’ to make the move easier. Then Covid struck and travel restrictions put the move on ice. Adam Tober at Skinner came to view the collection and was excited to offer it for sale so here we are. Because I’m still alive, I’m in a position to comment on every piece and provide some background on why it is interesting or important. Much of this commentary should be available in the catalog that will accompany the auction. Many of the pieces appear in ‘The Art & History of Violin Cases’ and many more will appear in the second edition. Some of the Italians appear in the ‘Registry of Baroque Violin Cases’ published in VSA Papers, 2018. If any Maestronetters feel inclined to acquire a piece of violin case history, I would be happy to provide background notes and an appraisal.
  13. Is your reservation based on evidence or instinct?
  14. Thanks for the advice about the ebony. That's why I thought stained fruitwood might be acoustically better and more authentic. Making one isn't a problem but it would be more satisfying to have one which is truly contemporary with the instrument. Glenn
  15. So True. I've been scouring the internet for weeks for an 18thC violin tailpiece and the closest was an ivory one on ebay which was take down for CITES reasons, I guess. I'm looking for an ebony or black stained one.. Glenn
  16. Trick question. The correct answer is that both are genuine TS. I could restore the grey one on the right to look like the one on the left but I choose not to. Whereas synthetic plastics can produce a very convincing simulation of the genuine article, I have never seen anything come close to the effect on the right which resembles Damascus steel. It's all in the eye of the beholder but I think both are beautiful in their own ways. Glenn
  17. Now I'm confused. In your previous post you advocated the use of exotic wood for pegs such as ebony and rosewood. Glenn
  18. No, the question wasn't about preservation. It was about the possibility of restoration i.e. reversing the the effects of time. Very different from conservation which is always the ideal to strive for but if fate has dealt us possession of an old item which has already suffered the effects of chemicals, oxidation, uv or other radiation, insects, humidity and physical abuse, alternative strategies need to be considered. Glenn
  19. And yet, as Eric Meyer pointed out, box and fruitwoods were the original woods of choice so even ebony and self lubricating rosewood are evolutionary developments. But another part of the problem is the expansion and contraction of the pegbox itself but, don't worry, I'm not about to jump onto modern geared pegs without a lot of thought. I don't play much these days so the time spent tuning isn't a serious problem for me. Do you find any problems using gut for the tailpiece? Sensitivity to humidity in that place could be less easy to correct. Glenn
  20. I personally use extra virgin olive oil but I'm sure almond oil is just as good and more fragrant. These oils are excellent for maintenance but the restoration of an aged and patinated surface is a different matter. There is no single correct answer; some favor returning the old surface to its original appearance and some don't. Where value and money are involved, it is best to take a conservative approach but when these considerations are secondary to aesthetics, the individual can do whatever best pleases him leaving it to others and future generations to disparage or applaud his actions. Glenn
  21. The problem is that they were invented in the relatively gentle climate of Northern Europe. Here in Pennsylvania we are subject to great and rapid changes in temperature and, more importantly, humidity. Short of cocooning oneself in museum-like climate control, conventional pegs are a constant nuisance. The problem applies to most antiques made of natural materials which routinely crack and also our bodies. I need to baste myself with oils in the winter to calm the dry itching resulting from low humidity. I'm instinctively aversed to Wittner pegs but can't help feeling that somethings, including peg design, should have evolved over the last 400 years even if the violin itself has not. Glenn
  22. I've never taken the plunge to install Wittner pegs but you make a good point to use them with gut strungs. Do they need to be professionally fitted or can anyone do it? Glenn
  23. Here's a quick quiz. Which of these pictures shows genuine tortoise shell and which is celluloid? Glenn
  24. As a collector of anything made of TS I will advise against oils and abrasive powders in favor of leaving the material exactly as described. Unlike its many synthetic copies, genuine TS is unique in developing that gray surface you describe along with contour lines (like a relief map) seen at a glancing angle. These are diagnostic for the genuine article and much prized by collectors like myself. We don't share in the passion for adding a billiard ball shine to our antiques. It's OK to use a substitute frog and retain the original but please don't destroy the natural surface that 30 years of affection have bestowed on it. Glenn
  25. Gut strings require more tuning than modern strings because they are sensitive to humidity changes and stretching. How much of a nuisance is this and are fine tuners useful? Glenn
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