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Blank face

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  1. Ben, you are talking about the edges of this violin; I am not sure, if I understood your intention. Do you think, the maker put very much work into carving them, or that they were altered later? Just the edges can be very typical for italian violins, and here they seem to be a little narrow at the table, at the back they look more italian-like. It was never in my mind, too, that this is a Mirecourt violin. Only the label (which looks like a 'ticket') and the stamp could be added by a french dealer - like it could be possible, that the existence of a maker Sneider was invented by french dealers to relabel old, italian-looking violins. Just the well documented existence of many german makers in Italy could be helpful, to make the existence of such a phantom believable. The other question, that was in my mind, is, why such a high price (nearly twice the estimate) for an unknown and undocumented italian maker?
  2. Thanks for the informative replies! I had doubts about the name, because the Railich, Kaiser, Tecchler etc. are all well documented; Sconvelt is an interesting spelling for "Schönfeld" (Schönfelder was a family from Markneukirchen), and looks really "italianized". Schneider is a very common name like Smith or Miller, and the version Sneider is by Google mostly found in the US, but not in Italy. It reminds me to the "Fratelli Fiscer alla balla...." fom other Mirecourt violins, and the manner, to stamp the name under the button is typical french or german, but not italian. But the stamp could be added later. The violin looks very nice, but I have doubts, if it is really 300 years old, even if the wood is from the 17th century. Is it clear, that it isn't a flemish copy from the mid or late18th century? And I can see more similarity to the Grancino pattern as to a "pure" Amati - possibily the winning bidder bought it as such.
  3. That is what I call apocryphic; the name is listed in 19th and early 20th century dictionaries, but without any documents and known genuine instruments. It seems to me, the name was created only to label some less reliable instruments. The spelling seems to be not italian, but french. If it means the german "Schneider" (Taylor), italian spelling should be something like "Snaidar", "Scenaider", "Scianaidar", but probably not like this.
  4. Does anybody know something about this "apocryphic" maker? http://tarisio.com/pages/auction/auction_item.php?csid=2197864448&cpid=3198255104 I know this name only from Mirecourt labels, the violin itself doesn't look like "anything I know", but the bidding is exorbitant.
  5. That's right - it's the same with Breton, Mangenot or otherwise signed instruments. The name on the label or the brand of these Mirecourt violins usually doesn't tell us much about the quality. "D'apres Stradivari" can be every type, too, from cheapest student up very fine.
  6. Why not french, this "Caussin-school" thing?
  7. I didn't mean trust in your honesty, but in your strength; what if they pulled out a gun and: Arrividerci Signora Amati?
  8. Your couple was convinced, they've got a genuine Amati, with all the consequences, hoping to become rich, afraid, to be betrayed and so on. The other way round is, that I am convinced, a special violin is not an Amati, because it looks different, what I am expecting an Amati has to look like, because the seller is not trustable, or the circumstances are suspicous, or anything else....If I am deeply convinced, that this is a fact, I won't trust, even if Charles Beare said, it's genuine. I would look for reasons, why he made a mistake. That's a little exaggerated to make it clear, but essentially it can go this way and it often does. I am not talking about this case here, and I aggree, that it very often will come to the point, if we see the glass half full or....see above. And I am really amazed, that you were allowed to show the Amati to some people coming in from the street, Machold seemed to trust you very much. Just thoughts from a lazy, sunny sunday noon (rare).
  9. Two things: It always can go the other way round. If I'm convinced, that I know it isn't, it will never be. Second: IMOP it is very often the question half full or empty. Like in the (in)famous ER Roth thread was told by the living Mr. Roth, it all happened in times long before our birth. An expert is someone, who is believed by others to be one, and after all I know and have heard about experts, they work this way, and are human beings. Sometimes in the past I was told "this one should sell for .....(a sum)", and always it was much too high or low, but never, what I got after a while. So I started to estimate by myself. It feels better, to be a dwarf, but trying to climb on the shoulders of a giant.
  10. I don't believe in an "ink stamp", too; the Emanuel H. signature looks like handwritten in a calligraphic way, and does match the colour of the "1818". The repair signature looks different in colour and writing, and obviously newer. And why should anybody fake a signature at a place, where it isn't visible without opening the violin? All this indications won't give a last proof, if the violin is genuine - ofcourse it's a question of half full or half empty. Personally I think, that the pattern, wood, and the inside work fit to the Prague school and the time - as far as I know, they used different sorts of varnish, oil and spiritus based, for the different qualities. Also the edgework and purfling is a bit narrow and not "top of the line". This violin seems to be, as Martin stated, a kind of "cheaper line", probably made in a bigger workshop by the young Homolka - if we decide to say, the glass is half full. The scroll seems IMOP not older than 1850, and it was most probably added while the repair, together with the new upper block. Now Martin has to decide, if his price for the violin is justified, for a supposed lower quality Prague (or Strnad) school violin in an acceptable good condition, but without the original scroll, and if it's expectable, that someone is willing to pay this price anytime - or if it was a bit optimistic, for sentimental reasons (I know this feeling). Only my personal thoughts on this subject, and it is a very interesting thread, although it starts a little hairy.
  11. Thanks a lot for the well shot pictures! The linings and joints are similar to those of my Hellmer, which had all blocks made of willow, too (and a wooden pin to fix the original neck in the upper block). I forgot to ask, if the lower rib is a one-piece and has it a notch under the pin (similar to Mittenwald/Füssen)?
  12. If the violin is opened now, it would be very interesting to see some pictures of the inside work, blocks (neck block, too), linings and rib joints.
  13. I enjoyed this thread as highly informative and full of valuable information, thanks at all! Now I took the part to say " usual sch... ", and I'm glad to be corrected. I knew this Mirecourt pressed violins with labels or stamps like Breton, Mangenot, Barnabetti, but with varnish and scrolls of a better quality, which defined them as clearly french. Features like blackened pegbox, or blackened edges, I found always immaterial, because it's very easy to manipulate that, it needs only some colour. It's a shame, that I didn't take inside pictures of those violins, which I suspected to have pressed plates but not to be of french origin, with features like one part neck and block (Stiefelhals), without corner blocks, carved bassbars, and looking to be more 19th century than 20th. In the future I will do so!
  14. Without checking Wikipedia I remember, that a process to bend wood by steam was invented in Vienna by a man named Thonet, used for chairs (Thonetstuhl - a chair with roundly bended wood) somewhat around the year 1900. Also I remember, without any proof, that I had sometimes violins, clearly not french but german-bohemian, which showed the feature Jacob described: angled middle joints, mostly at the table,and non-fitting half-plates, and older than 1920. Possibly the process of bending wasn't used in Mirecourt alone. The other point is, if you imagine someone doing 40 years or longer (they started as children) carving violin plates by hand, he or she will be a master of this work (or has become completely crazy). Why shouldn't such a person be able to produce a well-sounding violin (only the plates, which are the main part for sound), if he (or she) wants to and has the time?( I don't mention things like varnish or bassbar, which are important, too).
  15. The statistic of Markneukirchen counted the "official" workers, but it's probable that, for instance, a one-man-workshop had some related persons like wifes, children, which worked every day or only sometimes there, but were not counted in the statistic (I know persons, who have ancestors in that region and told me about the way of production). In the Vogtland they started very early a highly organized division of labour, some people were scroll makers, others made the plates, the varnish and so on, then driving instruments and bows on wheel barrows to the train station (often in packs of 12 pieces - Dutzendware, it doesn't mean, they made one dozen per day or hour) - all working for a small number of "Verleger" (dealer). That is an organized industrial production based on many small cottages without high and steaming chimneys and fabric halls.
  16. Interesting question, how to describe "industrial production" in violin making. IMO it's not comparable with other industries like car industry, tool industry and more. Today it maybe possible to produce a violin only by machines, without a touch of any human hand at all. But in the 19th century there was always a human hand involved; machines cut and saw the wood, but the rest was done by hand. The difference to former workshops or manufactures is, in my eyes, the number of people working together, the lots, they produced, and the shortness of time, that was needed to produce one piece (or one hundred, thousand..) - or the degree of organization. All this increased in the first half of the 19th century, and so we are used to call it "industrial production", although it is not necessary, that all the employees worked together at the same time in a great fabric building. From this point of view, most of the JTL production, for example, was "industrial", not only the pressed ones, but they also produced "non-industrial" instruments. In the case of this "violin from the wall", the longer I look at the pictures, I cannot find any 100% convincing evidence either for Mirecourt nor for Saxony, it starts to make me sick...so let majority rule.
  17. I'm glad about agreement and also disagreement in details, as long we agree in the basics (that this is a factory/industrial violin). Looking at the scroll and the purfling I was wondering a short time, if this could be more Mirecourt as Saxony, but in my eyes the very hard shellac varnishing and watercoloured ground is 'germanic'; pressed plate Mirecourt violins usually have cleated plates (at the middle joint), in this case the cleating looks new (made by the restorer). Also the wood of the table seems to be from the Erzgebirge, not vogesian - but that's only an opinion, no reason for a serious disagreement or a guilty conscience.
  18. Take away the "v" from SAVOY, put in an "x" and an "n" and you will have the origin: SAXONY. The corner blocks are fresher as the rest (did you made them?), edges and purfling do look similar to the french style, but are only copied. The varnish was put on after glueing the fingerboard (and colouring it black) to save time, so there is no varnish under it. Forget about the "cert", the age is more to the end of the 19th as middlle. Typical cottage industry, it may sound nice, but it surely won't have projection.
  19. Possibily he meant elve-shoe = poulaine; medieval S-shaped footwear. It could also be possible, that the dark varnish was originally of a red-brown colour and was darkened by a chemical process after some decades. Are there 18th century paintings, which show violins from Vienna in their original colour? This could be an interesting investigation.
  20. Going to an auction is an adventure, like going to the Casino, the winners are almost professionals or the very few lucky ones. If you are going only for the adventure, why not? The biggest mistake is, like always, to look for a "good sounding" violin - if only (for example) the soundpost is in the wrong position, the best instrument may sound like a box, and vice versa, a well fitted and equipped box may seem to be the best of all. If you are aware of that and look for some good guidance, try your luck!
  21. A comfort may be, that even bad publicity is publicity (or may lead to good publicity). Some of the instruments discussed ambivalently before, sold very good or fast.
  22. The phrasing was incorrect, it should be "The question, that follows from that, is......". Sometimes it tooks a while, to find the right formulation for an intuitiv thought. Just if the intention of Caspaces question was sardonic or inadequate, it is understandable, and legitimate, to ask such questions. To give a honest answer will not harm the specific seller, who is mentioned. "Honi soit qui mal y pense" It does matter - that's the difference. If someone gives a comprehensible description of the object, he is free to ask any price he likes, and everybody is free to pay - or not.
  23. The initial question was, in the now edited version and in my understanding, is it reasonable to multiply the price of a violin by 'switching' it from an attribution to a clearly descriped origin, and furthermore, is it a legitimate behaviour, that a dealer acts this way. I can suspect the sardonic intention, like some did here before, but this question is worth to be answered. All the other questions about origin, condition, originality of the parts are interesting, but they follow the first. I explained my opinion above, that this is a legitimate and usual behaviour, and nobody here was contrary. If the price is justified - if somebody will pay it, it is, if not, not.
  24. Here are pictures of a 1790 labeled J.C.Hellmer violin I once owned, look at the scroll: The table is from the same school, the scroll shows the difference.
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