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"handle bar" type scroll on Bergonzi violins


MANFIO
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I was giving a look in some photos of scrolls by Carlo Bergonzi and found some "handle bar" type scrolls (as Michael Darnton calls them) on Bergonzi`s violins... they are not as wild as Del Gesu`s (or Catarina`s) scrolls, but their basic concept is the same, and this type of scroll is not oftenly seen in other makers of the period. Is that just a coincidence? Are there any links betwen Bergonzi and Del Gesu? Why they produced similar scrolls (design, not excecution)?

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I was giving a look in some photos of scrolls by Carlo Bergonzi and found some "handle bar" type scrolls (as Michael Darnton calls them) on Bergonzi`s violins... they are not as wild as Del Gesu`s (or Catarina`s) scrolls, but their basic concept is the same, and this type of scroll is not oftenly seen in other makers of the period. Is that just a coincidence? Are there any links betwen Bergonzi and Del Gesu? Why they produced similar scrolls (design, not excecution)?

I wouldn't have an answer but I would like to know which Bergonzi scroll most prominently shows this trait. I'd like to look through my books tonight.

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Couldn't find anything better quickly, but................

certainly something worth looking at.

headsy.jpg

1740 Bergonzi (Kreisler) - unidentified C. Bergonzi

1740 del Gesu (Alard) - 1741 del Gesu (Vieuxtemps)

Probably less consistency among those of del Gesu overall?

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Are there any links betwen Bergonzi and Del Gesu?

The Hills, in their book The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family (1626-1762), think there is more of a connection between the Guarneris and Carlo Bergonzi than there is between Bergonzi and Stradivari.

Starting on page 59 of the Dover edition and continuing on to p 63, the Hills discuss and speculate about the relationship of Bergonzi to Stradivari and to the Guarneris, based on similarities and differences in workmanship. The Hills state that they no longer believe, as they once did, that there was any working relationship or any teacher-pupil relationship between Stradivari and Bergonzi. They seem to conclude that Bergonzi's workmanship was much more like the Guarneris. The Hills suggest that Carlo Bergonzi may have been a pupil or assistant to Giuseppe (filius Andrea) Guarneri, del Gesu's father and teacher (p. 62):

"Why [was Bergonzi] not an earlier pupil of the same master as that of del Gesu [ie, Giuseppe, filius Andrea]?" the Hills ask rhetorically, and continue: "We make bold to throw out the suggestion, feeling it to be far more probable than the accepted belief that he [bergonzi] was indebted for his training and knowledge to Antonio Stradivari."

In short, Bergonzi and del Gesu may quite possibly, according to the Hills, have had the same teacher, Giuseppe (filius Andrea) Guarneri.

The Hills end their chapter on Giuseppe (filius Andrea) Guarneri (p. 63) with a summation of his work: His early work was Amati influenced. Then in the 1690's there was a Stradivari influence. Finally, beginning about 1715, the Guarneri workshop, led by Giuseppe, filius Andrea, produced "interesting specimens," which "Weigh matters as we will, we do feel, and feel very strongly, that their real authorship lies between Carlo Bergonzi and Giuseppe del Gesu." In other words, Bergonzi and del Gesu probably worked (perhaps together, perhaps separately at different times) in the Guarneri workshop beginning about 1715, producing violins that should be attributed to Bergonzi or del Gesu, and not specifically to Giuseppe, filius Andrea.

The relevant connections between Bergonzi and del Gesu are that, according to the Hills, Bergonzi and del Gesu quite possibly had the same teacher and very probably both, as fully trained violin makers, worked in the same shop, the Guarneri shop of Giuseppe, filius Andrea.

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The Strad issue March 2007 featured a very nice 1736 Bergonzi. It has a "handle bar" scroll. The front view is quite simlar to some del Gesu scrolls, as can be seen from Omobono's pictures. However, I find the side view differs clearly from del Gesu's scrolls. According to John Dilworth (who wrote the article), the outline is similar to Strad's scrolls. He mentions that Carlo Chiesa and Duane Rosengard found links between Bergonzi and the Rugeris. On Reuning's homepage, a Vincenzo Rugeri can be seen. Both the front and the side view of the scroll are very similar to Bergonzi's scrolls!

I'd love to know if more results Of Chiesa's and Rosengard's research has become available. Maybe Bruce Carlson knows. Probably we have to wait for the Bergonzi exhibition this fall...

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I was giving a look in some photos of scrolls by Carlo Bergonzi and found some "handle bar" type scrolls (as Michael Darnton calls them) on Bergonzi`s violins... they are not as wild as Del Gesu`s (or Catarina`s) scrolls, but their basic concept is the same, and this type of scroll is not oftenly seen in other makers of the period. Is that just a coincidence? Are there any links betwen Bergonzi and Del Gesu? Why they produced similar scrolls (design, not excecution)?

I think of those kinds of del gesu scrolls as a botched Bergonzi. Since Bergonzi is the one who actually did it well, it seems like the design is more likely his than Guarneri's.

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I think the name would come from how far out the ends extend, I don't like the name.

When Carlo Begonzi carved his scrolls they looked like a dowel had been inserted all the way through the scroll and the scroll uncurls from this dowel. Del Gesu wasn't a careful enough carver to pull it off.

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I think of those kinds of del gesu scrolls as a botched Bergonzi. Since Bergonzi is the one who actually did it well, it seems like the design is more likely his than Guarneri's.

Hi William,

I agree, it doesn't seem to be del Gesu's design. But if you have a look at the Vincenzo Rugeri (1707!) it appears that he used this design even earlier. I would be great if some of the makers who see these instruments frequently gave their opinion...

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Vincenzo Ruggeri and Carlo Bergonzi were neighbors on the Strada Maestra at least from 1698 (-the year Ruggeri bought his house/wokshop on the street where the Bergonzi family had already been living), until 1708 (-the year the Bergonzis sold their house.) They both lived in the Parish of San Silvestro before and after that period, too.

Not only that, but those two families seem to have had a strong relationship.

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  • 8 years later...
On 3/9/2010 at 7:00 AM, Ron1 said:

This 'modern' maker actually added-on extra wood for the handlebar grips. :-)

post-5156-1268146801.jpg

Though this GREAT post is over 8 years old, I had not come across it until now.  Thank you, Ron1. 
 
 In my naivete (read: ignorance) this solution had not occurred to me. 
 
I had been eyeing a number of Chinese so-called copies of Guarneri Del Gesù's Leduc violin, but have always been disappointed in the scrolls.  Having had actually held the original in my hands and actually played scales on it on one of the several occasions when its then owner, Henryk Szeryng, visited me in my home south of the border, I have always wanted a replica for sentimental reasons—but the lame scrolls of the cheap copies put me off.

Once I did see a very nice Leduc copy by Douglas Cox in which the handlebars of the scroll resembled the original quite bit more faitfully, but stilll not quite as bold as the original.

W750-H1000-Cox_Leduc_copy.jpg

Guarneri Leduc-and-Cannone-scrolls + peg boxes.jpg

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