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Giovanni Valentini

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  1. Thanks again for all the helpful comments. @J.DiLisio:The fingerboard is close to the table, but not as close as the photo may suggest. There are still a few mm air at the tightest point. @Julian Hersh: Thank you for your pre-emptive strike. Do you know if Cappa ran a larger workshop with apprentices? I have been researching this instrument for years and have shown it to many people and always end up back with the Turin School (despite the apparent lack of rib trenches) and, let's say, the Cappa circle (if there is such a thing). It had once crossed my mind that it may be Flemish, but the dendro-results say otherwise (plus I can't find any Flemish maker whose work is particularly close). Or am I barking up the completely wrong tree here? @Germain: Thanks for the tip. I have had that pleasure and was not particularly impressed. I think the good people of this forum offer more valuable help at a better price ;-) -- which is not to say that I am not happy to invest way more than $60 in a solid certificate!!!
  2. Yes, if I had not lost my tool ....
  3. Thanks! You must be right - I suppose a combination of carving and bending must have happened (unless the original back was tremendously thick or at least a little arched to start with). I also noticed - having removed some dirt - that inside, around the entire instrument a lining has been glued down, acting as a sort of pedestal for the ribs, linings and blocks, presumably to create sufficient thickness by the edges. I guess this material then also provides the underside of the edges which had become too thin. I tried to capture this to make it clear: I also managed to get a shot of the kind of trapezoid top block:
  4. Hi, thanks for the really helpful information! The neck is nailed on, but it is not the original. it was 'baroqued' some 20 years ago. The ribs are definitely not set into a channel in the back. With a latest year ring of 1682, i.e. a date of probably not before 1690, this would make the violin a little late for this type of construction I guess. @MS: Thanks, I will contact Julian Hersh in the hope not to bother him unduly!
  5. Wow, thanks for all these comments! As my number of daily posts is limited, I bundle the answers to various questions together into one: 1) The back is carved and, I would say, always has been - at least I can't see how a flat viol back could be converted into this: 2) The table is of two parts, but not bookmatched: 3) There was once a thread about a Hardie arrangement. That instrument shows that the decorations dont match properly. This is not the case here - they are perfectly in proportion and match everywhere. Unless they were entirely added later, I don't think the viola could be made of parts from a larger instrument. 4) Re. Norman's violin family instruments: Ben Hebbert in his 2001 catalogue in GSJ mentions five violas one of which he considers wrongly attributed and one Norman arranged from an older viol. He also counts ca 10 violins, 14 bass violins and one cello. 5) The decorations on front and back seem to be done using the same technique, i.e. a mixture of purfling and painting. With the purfling I am not entirely sure, but I suspect that the dark strips are some sort of filler rather than wood. The painted sections have partly worn off. The criss-cross lines on the table are - I think - pen-drawn. The round vignette with the name is inserted with a brand stamp. Here are some close-ups: And here are the drawings of the decorations from Ben Hebbert's catalogue: Monogramme on the back: Tulip on the table:
  6. This is a violin I am stuck with. Perhaps someone on this forum happens to recognise the maker or knows whom to ask. The two-piece back of medium curl, the table of exceptionally narrow grain (ca 220 rings per half!), the varnish of a gold-orange colour, the length of back 14 1/8in (358mm). Peter Ratcliff has dated the latest year rings of the table to 1681 and 1682 and concluded that the growth data has strong correlations with other Italian instruments of the 17th century, including one by Cappa. I have had suggestions of Turing school / characteristics of Cappa / possibly Catenar, but nothing very firm yet. What Julian Hersh says in his article on Cappa on Tarisio's website about the finish, the purfling, and the choice of wood rings very true for this one I think. The label reads:IOFREDVS CAPPA FECIT SALVTIIS ANNO 16<39> Any help is much appreciated. Thanks!
  7. Here is a little (LOB just 38.2 cm) viola I got recently. I thought members of this forum may like to see it. Judging from the drawings of the decorations in Ben Hebbert's catalogue raisonne, I would guess about 1710? #
  8. It sold at Christies in 2012 for $37500 (incl. fees, so presumaby 30000 hammer) as 'School of Antonio Stradivari'. Back then it came with a valuation by Albert Hamma, 1933, identifying it as Stradivari, valuing the instrument at 40000 Reichsmark (equivalent of 15 kg gold); another certificate by Isaac Stern (no, not him!) from 1942 calls it a Pietro Guarneri of Mantua - both obviously not possible if the dendro-report is correct. NB! The Hamma valuation is certified by a notary, but the relevant archive has no record of such a document ... There is a nasty crack on the back (treble), running from the lower edge and then twice cross-grain to the middle, missing the soundpost by about 1 cm. Also the edges around the entire top and most of the lower bouts are renewed. I was quite intrigued what this may be, especially post 1766 - my closest shots would have been Nicolo Gagliano or perhaps Nicolo Bergonzi, imitating earlier work. The fact that the maple on back, ribs, and scroll does not not really match made me think that it may be composite. Also the entirely renewed edges could be an indication that a later top was fitted to a different instrument. Notably, A. Hamma, produced such mongrels, e.g., from the Strad back he bought from Hill where he had the rest forged around it (much to Hill's distress). But I'd love to be enlightend about what others think - I certainly was out long before the 55k.
  9. Most assuredly, but how much? - On the other hand: The violin does not have a sound post crack (nor any other cracks worth mentioning)! Because I am looking for an investment instrument, I wonder whether an instrument like this will keep its value or even go up in value. I fear that buyers in that price range will usually be looking for something neater (?)
  10. Yes, the A. Gagliano at Bromptons has potential (apparently it has not been played for ca 100 years), but, as you say, much of it has been eaten.
  11. Why 'Yikes'? The back replacement is not a 100% match, but for that the violin is extremely healthy all around (as far as I can tell). It was also a joy to play. Interesting that the Hill certificate makes no mention at all of half of the back being replaced ...!
  12. Thanks for your thoughts. That was my feeling too. I am just not sure how much to take off that million for half a new back (albeit nicely done). By comparison, Ingles and Hayday have an Andrea Guarneri with a (not great) replacement table. It's a good fiddle, but has a disappointing 50-70k estimate ...
  13. Hi, I am looking for some opinions or advice on a couple of instruments in the forthcoming sales in London: 1) Tarisio's has a JB Vuillaume Guarneri model which is described as in 'good condition', which is true except for the belly which someone must have sat on: I count four bass bar crack and three sound post cracks (secured with two patches) plus a lot of minor ones. The repairs are very well done, hardly visible to the naked eye and don't seem to affect the sound. Yet, is a starting price of £120000 justified? By comparison, Ingles and Hayday offer JBV Strad model for the same estimate, but its is mint condition. 2. Brompton's are offering a GB Guadagnini, a great instrument and in excellent condition. However, according to Ch. Beare, the bass side of the back has been replaced, possibly by the Hill firm and probably using part of an old Italian violin. Again all very well done, but to what degree does that depreciate the instrument? Thanks!
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