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any thoughts or ideas about this???


fiddlecollector

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The purfling style (black strips being thinner than white) is German style. Looking at the scroll , pegbox (thats going to need some work), sholders and f's I see nothing that jumps out and says anything other than German. I also see the back plate to the corners, slightly off or uneven that is seen in many factory type German violins made. Is the saddle recessed into the lower block? Five or six ribs?

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Call me crazy, or overly optimistic, there are some strong similarities to Banks workshop products. The model looks Amati-like, the button a bit oblong for most British makers, but it is not unlike some Bank's instruments I have seen, the varnish (if the instrument is British) is similar to Bank's better stuff. Likewise the scroll is well-executed and not outside the range of Bank's products, though the classic high forehead is not there. The ink purfling could be English or German. The neck has been grafted, so we figure pre-1800. The strange thing is the ink purfling on what otherwise looks to be a high class fiddle - that, the button, and the fact that we are in England puts me in mind of a second-rate Banks or his children, or their workers...

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There appears to be a crack at the bottom of of the scroll. On the monitor I'm looking at, I'm not sure I can see a graft.

Somebody in the first violin section or who was proficient enough to do a lot of playing in high positions thought enough of this violin to have used it quite a bit, judging by the wear on the top along the E-side of the fingerboard. One or more owners may have done all that playing because they liked the sound of the instrument. If I were to guess with only the pictures to go on, I would say that it resonates freely and has a sweet, darkish voice, based on the wide grain in the top.

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Nice violin, Bob, and very professional photos. Do you mind if I go back to Jeffrey's most recent tutorial, and start with the model

Amati

Stainer

Strad

Guareri

and the age? I'll try again here wit Amati on the body, but Stainerish on the f holes, and I don't know quite what to make about those square corners. Also, I'll go with 150 to 200 years age. The instrument looks in pretty good shape, but the wear looks authentic.

The confusing things for me is the details. If you're doing a scroll graft, why not add a new neck that is properly morticed into a real neck block? (Or is it just the angle that makes me see Spanish heel?) But first, what model and what age is it?

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To me it apears to be English, late 18th or early 19th cent. Assuming the scroll goes, which I'm not trying to put in question, it is an example of a simple violin made by a skilled maker with artistic sense.

The model reminds me more of Betts than Banks, and he certainly had a workshop employing many skilled makers, though I don't know if they ever employed so subtle a shading of the varnish on the back.

I suppose the inspiration for the model would lie with Stainer or Amati, it likely being made before the Strad model became so popular.

Andrew

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If we start with an Amati or Stainer inspiration and circa 1800, what specific features would point to English or Flemish? I find those rounded eyes distinctive (not particularly German). Those square corners don't make me think German either. I think of square corners as more a circa 1900 embellishment, maybe French. Also, even though I'm prepared to accept an early date, the lack of wear on the corners and on the edges in general doesn't seem consistent with great age. ???? (Please ignore my earlier comment about the neck block. I can see that detail now.)

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To all the above must be added the presence of ink 'purfling' without obviously being scribed, which eliminates Italian and French, and leaves us with English or German. The fairly deep channels around the edges signal English rather than German. Arching is Amati-ish rather than Stainer in shape and the f's are far too angled to be English Stainer copies (which are nearly always purely vertical). I agree with Andrew Weinstein that 'School of Betts' is a possibility.

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My only association for that near-colorless varnish is Germany in the '20s and '30s. And the varnish itself looks modern to me--very evenly laid down. The scroll looks very neatly done, but I would guess in my ignorance that it probably did not require anywhere near the work of a more deeply carved one. If that purfling is merely inked (I certainly can't tell by looking!), then I'd also call 'modern' on it because of how regular it is. The rebushed pegs and the graft seem anomalous in light of everything else, and the whole instrument looks more battered than it does worn. So overall I wonder whether it's not a 'fake old' instrument from 1930s Germany, or possibly a composite with the table being older.

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Here are some very amateurish photos of a nice 1924 Robelli version of a Gabbrielli -- see attachments...the photos unfortunately don't come anywhere near to giving an accurate representation of the varnish...the back has this deep yellow and orange color that is radiant and beautiful...they made "Italian" violins better than the Italians!!...incredible attention to detail...I also have a Ruggeri copy where they also faked a neck graft and even added some fake cracks!...I hope the attachments come through -- this message board has strange mechanics.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry been on holiday when this thread started taking off, interesting ideas and suggestions, i enquired about this violin at a small english auction house .My first thoughts on it were Testore school , but as violins by members of that family confuse me somewhat i was interested in anything anybody had to say.

It does carry a testore label also, which looked rather authentic.

I do believe the violin is around 1780 , possibly Italian ,possibly English. I dont see any of Benjamin Banks in the fiddle,sorry Tradfiddle!

Anyway the violin had arather high estimate so i didnt bother bidding as i was unable to see it in person. It did sell for over 4000 GBP .

browsing the net today i spotted it again at one of the London auctions as a violin attributed to Paolo Antonio Testore, with an even higher estimate of 6-9000 GBP.

Im still i two minds about it.But have no intention in bidding,but may have a look in person.

Thanks to anyone who commented.

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quote:


Originally posted by:
bean_fidhleir

Wow. Now this is a case where I would
love
to see a comment by Jeffrey or Michael. I look at the darn thing and see a rather modern instrument, so I'd dearly love to know what I'm missing.

Jeffrey? Michael? Would you be willing to comment even in a not-for-publication pm we could share around?


I corresponded privately with fiddlecollector early on... but for what it's worth, my opinion of it (based on the photos) is pretty much the same as Andrew's; late 18th/early 19th century British.

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