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  1. Should one be in the habit of reading and cross referencing the diverse violin lexica, one can’t help but constantly ascertain that they are all, be it Jalovec, Vannes, Henley, Dillworth, or the various Auctioneers, little more than a sloppy translation of Lütgendorff, in some cases (notably Henley) with arbitrary invented (anti-German) invective, presenting “their” findings without reference, as if they were original personal research. Lütgendorff himself was an academic and gentleman of the late Austro-Hungarian Empire (in England I would call him Victorian). He was an art historian and linguist, who also collected violins and spent decades researching the subject. Much of his research involved correspondence abroad, indeed he himself bemoaned the lack of counterparts in (then) “enemy foreign countries” (at the time Italy). He also relied on several like minded violin researchers, one in particular, Eduard Emanuel Homolka in Prague, who was a keen student of violins of the Prague area, and who's 1896 book Životopisné zprávy o houslařích a loutnařích v Praze a okolí od nejstarší až na naši dobu was the basis of the (accurate) information on Prague makers in Lütgendorff’s lexicon. Homolka also served as proof reader for Lütgendorffs publication. All of that considered, it was very interesting for me to recently come into possession of a viola by Caspar Strnad of Prague from 1815, that Homolka had sold himself in 1917 to a customer in Sweden. I reproduce Homolka’s (surely the finest expert of Prague violin making of all time) certificate/appraisal below. For those who might struggle with his handwriting, the text of the certificate (in the German language) is: Der Endesgefertigte erklärt hiermit, dass die alte Concert-Viola, die der Hr. Conzertmeister Kadraba um den Preis von 1000 Kron. Eine echte Caspar Strnad (böhm. Stradivari), in Prag 1815 verfertigt … Viola ist und dem Preise vollkommen entspricht. Ed. Eman. Homolka Geigenmacher Kgl. Weinberger Tyl. Namesti 28 n. Kgr. Böhmen which I would translate into English such: The undersigned hereby declares that the old concert viola, which Mr. Conzertmeister Kadraba has bought at the price of 1000 crowns. A real Caspar Strnad (bohemian. Stradivari), made in Prague in 1815 ... The Viola is completely in line with the price. Ed. Eman. Homolka Violin maker Kgl. Weinberger Tyl. Namesti 28 n. Kgr. Bohemia The viola comes with further correspondence, which sheds light on violin dealing in Bohemia, in the twilight years of the Austro-Hungarian empire, just two years before the inception of Czechoslovakian Republic, An upheaval that makes Brexit look like a walk in the park.
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