Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

J.U. Eberll label - what do you guys think?


mikesusangray
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi folks!

I'm trying to find out as much as I can about a violin I've just

managed to get back after having lost it for several years. I got a

very kind response from a fellow named Dwight at Oriscus and a

local Luthier who happens to be a friend has offered to look into

it too. But, since I've found Maestronet, I thought I'd ask a bit

here as well!

Here's a link with some pictures:

"http://picasaweb.google.com/mikesusangray/TheOldViolin">Picasa

Link

Here's some background:

My grandmother's uncle was a violinist who drank himself to death.

Granny ended up with the fiddle, and I spent a while learning on it

as boy - until I called it quits at 13. When my parents divorced,

the violin got stuck in Sicily, where my father worked for about

ten years. Since my daughter is now interested in learning to play

- and after developing into a decent E-Bass player, I'm thinking

about a new start myself - I made a herculean effort to get some

old friends in Sicily to send it to my home in Zürich.

My Luthier friend (Hess Geigenbau in Stäfa) said:

First, he couldn't guess either way on attribution, but he is going

to ask around. It might , theoretically, be a real 17th

century piece, it might also be a 19th to early 20th

knock-off. (He looked up Eberle in his big old book and took some

measurements. One part was 2mm shorter than the listed

example, the neck 2mm longer. Overall same length.) He was

enormously put out by that wedge thing between the neck and the

finger board - called it Bauernarbeit (a "farmer job") - but he

said he liked the work otherwise. The wedgie could have been a

later addition. The graduation checked. He did remark that it

looked as though it was finished to look extra old (note the dark

and light patches on the back).

He recommended the following: touch up the scratches and raw

edges, put in a new sound post and glue the split seams. Otherwise

it seems to be in sound condition. He mentioned that he might also

(a) replace the fingerboard and get rid of the wedge and (:) open

her up, shorten the side walls and re-seal to avoid future trouble

with the seams. But we agreed to hold up on any work until he could

get some opinions about the date and maker.

Just off the bat and on hand from my (poor!) photos, would you guys

have anything to add? If so, I'll pass any information on to Klaus,

my violin shop guy.

Here are a couple shots of genuine J.U. Eberles:

"http://www.violin-hron.cz/catalog/Eberle1/Eberle1.html">Eberle

1

"http://www.violin-hron.cz/catalog/Eberle2/Eberle2.html">Eberle

2

Peace,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Many of the photos are very dark - too dark to reveal anything much.

The (originally) one-piece lower-bout rib is about all I can see which is characteristic of Eberle. The shape of the soundholes are not, and neither are the purfling (normally three strips of almost equal width, not a wide white and narrow black ones) and distance from the edge - this seems too far in for Eberle.

I think this is a tricky maker to identify because he changed his model quite a lot. So, I'm not leaning either way, hopefully some other comments will be forthcoming.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
fiddlecollector
I think its

no older than late 19th century

I agree.  In my limited experience, the varnish is all wrong

for an 18th Century Bohemian violin, the shape and arching are

wrong, and there is no neck graft.  Yours certainly doesn't

resemble the known examples that you linked to.

Looks like an OK violin, though.  I'd get it repaired, string

it up, and play it.

Whoever did that airbrush work ought to have the airbrush inserted

someplace very uncomfortable.  I'm spending way too

many hours trying to remove some horrible blotches from a very

nice old violin. but I think it will be worth it in the long run.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
bean_fidhleir

The label looks to have been printed offset, which wouldn't have been possible in his time.

Can you really tell if the label has been printed using offset lithography from that picture?

I can't imagine that any maker say, pre-1980?, ever had labels printed lithographically, never mind with offset litho, which is a rather different process. I can only see offset litho being feasible if you were printing hundreds or thousands of labels. Certainly not if you just wanted to knock off one for a fake.

I assume that until very recently labels - like books and other printed matter - were printed using some kind of relief technique with either a wooden or metal plate/block. An intaglio technique could also have been used, I suppose, with probably a wood-engraved block.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

J.U.Eberle had a son Václav Michal Josef Eberle who after his death in 1768 inherited his workshop and till 1772 (he outlived his father only by 4 years) has been finishing his father's unfinished instruments, none of the sons' own instruments have been presereved, so it is said. That may explain some of the diferences.

I am far from being an expert, but I think neck graft might not be as crucial with a late Eberle, is it? I have seen probably genuine late 18th century violin with just the wedge under the fingerboard. I have heard, that the late 18th century violins already had a bit higher neck angle.

However, i noticed that the ornament on the label of your instrument seems to have different design than on the second of the supposedly genuine Eberle's.

I think I heard from some Prague luthiers, that Eberle and Edlinger have been faked in the late 19th and early 20th century. There are gossips, that even some "originals" in the Prague Museum of Music are fakes. Have you inspected the inside of the instrument with a mirror (or a microcamera)? I heard of a lute which looked nearly like genuine Edlinger's, but under the top plate there was a label of the copyist.

Matej

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for your many comments, guys!

Since I've handed the violin over to my luthier, I can't get any

more pictures for now. Having read a bit more, I can already see

how I could have done the photos better - and Matej's mirror

suggestion sounds particularly interesting!

BTW, I sent the same links with the real Eberle pix to my luthier.

(He didn't have any in his workshop.) BTW, his biggest suspicion

about age is the same as what some of you have mentioned: the

varnish.

Anyway, I'm enjoying watching this detective work unfold!

In one sense, I'll be a bit relieved if it turns out *not* to be a

particularly rare and expensive fiddle. I mean, a few thousand

extra dollars around the house always seems like a fine thing to

have. OTOH, since I don't really want to sell the instrument, I'd

almost rather have it turn out to be worth $800 - and be a fine

violin for my daughter or me to learn on - than for it to be worth

$10,000 - and have to be insured, locked up and generally treated

like the crown jewels. Since my old violin teacher used to get

dewy-eyed about its tone - and say she wished hers sounded as good

as mine - I'm assuming it'll "do" however old it is!

But it *would* be nice to find out a little more about it!

Peace,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
rudall

quote:


Originally posted by:
bean_fidhleir

The label looks to have been printed offset, which wouldn't have been possible in his time.

Can you really tell if the label has been printed using offset lithography from that picture?

I can't imagine that any maker say, pre-1980?, ever had labels printed lithographically, never mind with offset litho, which is a rather different process. I can only see offset litho being feasible if you were printing hundreds or thousands of labels. Certainly not if you just wanted to knock off one for a fake.

I assume that until very recently labels - like books and other printed matter - were printed using some kind of relief technique with either a wooden or metal plate/block. An intaglio technique could also have been used, I suppose, with probably a wood-engraved block.

What I meant was that I see no signs that the label was printed by either of the two job-printing processes available in his time: letterpress and intaglio.

As you note, the likelihood of any real label having been printed via classic litho is vanishingly small, since that was a labor-intensive method suited only to art not commerce. And, as you know, offset litho wasn't invented til the late 19th c. and didn't begin to find its way into job shops until around the 1930s. During Eberle's time, presses were all the 6x6 timber-built, horizontal flatbed, capstan-and-screw-driven letterpress ones we see in illustrations.

This label is text with a stock-rule border, so there would have been no reason at all to go to the added expense of having a plate engraved. Which leaves us with vanilla letterpress using moveable type. But I'm not seeing any of the usual debossing or squeezeout that was characteristic of job and even newspaper printing during that time.

Ink was applied by hand with a dauber and was therefore unevenly distributed, and the type was also uneven, so even with shimming and padding the pressure had to be rather high to make sure all the type came into contact with the paper sufficiently to get good coverage and lock the ink into the paper's fibers. Which typically debossed the paper and caused excess ink to be squeezed out at the sides of the type faces.

But as you'll have noticed, we're not seeing any of that here. The ink is lying on the surface, with so little involvement that some of it seems to have fallen off. We see that a lot in dry-process offset -- xerography, aka xerox -- but it's quite rare otherwise. I doubt that Eberle would have accepted anything like that from the printer--he would have considered it a waste of his money since printing was quite expensive.

So, from all that, plus the paper showing the stigmata of being made from sulfited wood pulp rather than rags, I conclude that the label was recently printed by offset, quite possibly xerography, and is a fake. Without being able to see it up close and personal I might be wrong in that conclusion, but I can say for sure that what I can see doesn't look good.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

quote:


Originally posted by:
bean_fidhleir

quote:


Originally posted by:
rudall
quote:


Originally

posted by:
bean_fidhleir
The label looks to have been

printed offset, which wouldn't have been possible in his time.

Can you really tell if the label has been printed using offset

lithography from that picture? I can't imagine that any maker say,

pre-1980?, ever had labels printed lithographically, never mind

with offset litho, which is a rather different process. I can only

see offset litho being feasible if you were printing hundreds or

thousands of labels. Certainly not if you just wanted to knock off

one for a fake. I assume that until very recently labels - like

books and other printed matter - were printed using some kind of

relief technique with either a wooden or metal plate/block. An

intaglio technique could also have been used, I suppose, with

probably a wood-engraved block.

What I meant was that I see no

signs that the label was printed by either of the two job-printing

processes available in his time: letterpress and intaglio. As you

note, the likelihood of any real label having been printed via

classic litho is vanishingly small, since that was a

labor-intensive method suited only to art not commerce. And, as you

know, offset litho wasn't invented til the late 19th c. and didn't

begin to find its way into job shops until around the 1930s. During

Eberle's time, presses were all the 6x6 timber-built, horizontal

flatbed, capstan-and-screw-driven letterpress ones we see in

illustrations. This label is text with a stock-rule border, so

there would have been no reason at all to go to the added expense

of having a plate engraved. Which leaves us with vanilla

letterpress using moveable type. But I'm not seeing any of the

usual debossing or squeezeout that was characteristic of job and

even newspaper printing during that time. Ink was applied by hand

with a dauber and was therefore unevenly distributed, and the type

was also uneven, so even with shimming and padding the pressure had

to be rather high to make sure all the type came into contact with

the paper sufficiently to get good coverage and lock the ink into

the paper's fibers. Which typically debossed the paper and caused

excess ink to be squeezed out at the sides of the type faces. But

as you'll have noticed, we're not seeing any of that here. The ink

is lying on the surface, with so little involvement that some of it

seems to have fallen off. We see that a lot in dry-process offset

-- xerography, aka xerox -- but it's quite rare otherwise. I doubt

that Eberle would have accepted anything like that from the

printer--he would have considered it a waste of his money since

printing was quite expensive. So, from all that, plus the paper

showing the stigmata of being made from sulfited wood pulp rather

than rags, I conclude that the label was recently printed by

offset, quite possibly xerography, and is a fake. Without being

able to see it up close and personal I might be wrong in that

conclusion, but I can say for sure that what I can see doesn't look

good.

Egad! That was one of the more impressive pieces of detective work

I've seen on the net so far. Wow.

Only one observation: I don't think that it can be xerography,

however. The Xerox hit the market around the time of WWII - and I

have it on good assurance that the fiddle is old than that, at

least. Unless someone added the label around then - but that seems

rather unlikely.

I'm very curious about the rag paper vs. wood paper thing! Would

you be able to direct me to some places where I can see the

difference? BTW, I'm not arguing, I'm just fascinated at the chance

to learn something new.

Also: quite a few people have mentioned that the varnish work is

wrong for the 18th century. Can someone explain that to me? When I

look at the fiddle - particularly the back - I'm struck by the

light and dark color variations and the sort of chipped, bumpy

look. Does that have something to do with it? Are those techniques

they used to make an instrument seem older than it really was?

Also: does all of this mean that whoever made the violin was

*intentionally* doing a fake - or is it more of an innocent

omage?

As I said: this is fascinating, and thanks for being patient with

me!

Peace,

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Long before Xerox, you could buy pages of assorted fake labels,

printed on regular paper made from wood fiber.  It has been,

and is, a pretty common practice among some dealers to stick a fake

label in just about any violin that they have for sale.

Takes just a moment.  I'm not sure it does a lot

of good, but it might have helped get a better price or to make the

instrument more saleable at one time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...