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A few more good backs...


Guy_Gallo
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I'd like to try something, if you all don't mind. Let's try looking at the instruments from the outside in. Ignore the wood for a second... What classic maker, or makers, outlines are represented here? If you don't know where to start, try looking at photos of Stradivari, Amati, Stainer & Guarneri del Gesu. Then take a stab.

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Try not to think "copy". Think "inspiration".

Seems some are leaning toward #1 for Strad outline. #2 seems to going in that direction too. #3.... Well, I'd say, to me it's more Strad than Amati or Stainer... and it's not really quite del Gesu... or is it?

If it's OK with all of you, next look at the backs and try and come up with an age range... How old do they look?

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One might say the same thing about the wood on the first. I've got the first two, but (Jeff and I have been discussing this off-board) the third is so non-typical of what I usually think of from the maker that I still don't see it. So that would be my hint for the third: think of who you don't think the maker is, who would fit in, based on a theme. :-) I considered the name right away, but passed right by it right away, based on that violin.

This is a hard one--though most people will know two of the three names, they probably don't know the violins themselves, and the remaining one is obscure on all counts. Once you have the theme, I believe there are only four makers' names possible to tag on these three violins, so get out your coins and start flipping.

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Michael is correct. The third is not what I expect to see for this maker... but I see his later work more regularly than his earlier work. Interesting fiddle.

All three makers are connected...

Falstaff; can you put up the fronts as soon as we get a couple more brave souls to take a shot at the age?

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"Would it help to know that these instruments are dated within 30 years of each other?"

Jeffrey, that might help to get to the answer, but it won't help teach identification skills. For example, how many times does someone bring you two violins for appraisal and say the only thing they know about them is that they are close in age?

I've already confessed that the outlines don't tell me anything. I only see that No. 1 is very distinctive in the wood, and No. 3 is distinctive in the large, unaltered button. Are there specific details that would tell you they are the same general age other than the conditions of the varnish (which also don't look that different to me)?

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Quote:


Jeffrey, that might help to get to the answer, but it won't help teach identification skills. For example, how many times does someone bring you two violins for appraisal and say the only thing they know about them is that they are close in age?

I've already confessed that the outlines don't tell me anything. I only see that No. 1 is very distinctive in the wood, and No. 3 is distinctive in the large, unaltered button. Are there specific details that would tell you they are the same general age other than the conditions of the varnish (which also don't look that different to me)?


Rich,

ID from photos is difficult at best. One plus here is that Falstaff is not presenting contemporary copies.

Some of what you have to go on, so far, is:

1) The outlines. Are the makers in this group using classic outlines. If so, which ones. I'll give you Strad (first two) and Guarneri (last one).

2) If they are classic outlines, are they on the money, or inspired by? Are they old enough to be by one of the masters or one of their immediate "followers"?

3) If they are not "original" 18th century Cremonese fiddles (which they are not), how old are they? As Andrew mentioned in the last "back" thread, makers outside Cremona really didn't rely on these models until after about 1800.

These are related instruments. The reason I mentioned that the age range is 30 years was to narrow down the scope. If you get the feeling one is X years old, you can rest assured the next one isn't more than 30 years out of that range.

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I'll jump into the fray with a few comments and clues, but I know what the violins are already so I'll keep quiet about their identities.

I agree with Michael that the third one is a difficult violin to I.D. That is largely because it is a bit more generic and less distinctive in style than a classic violin is. Most later makers follow a more "international" style rather than the classical makers who link up with each other based on their regions, teachers and so forth.

The first two violins, however, are quite distinctive and representative of their respective makers. One of them follows a very typical Strad pattern and the other a more personalized Strad pattern. One of them often has varnish of a dark color which is quite distinctively soaked into the wood. Both violins show that they were made from wood which is typical as well. The other clue that you can get from these pictures involves the pins to the backs. When we see the tops, there will be several more clues.

Christopher Reuning

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