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Ratcliffiddles

Composite?

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was that you're opinion (French composite violin, table 1760, back 1840) or are you calling it in question?

regards

Let's put it that way: I will go and have a look if he's got a few more composite instruments like that! :)

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I'd have said the whole thing was Mirecourt circa 1810-1820 - if it's a composite I'm missing exactly why. Looks a very nice violin - is the back arching very flat?

Not really flat Martin.

Does the left sound hole tell you anything?

fsmall.jpg

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French fiddles are right off my beat, but for what it's worth:

It looks to me a bit like the french fiddles about 1830, which have a stamp where the label normaly is saying "couteriuax" or similar, mind you I don't know if these french names mean anything

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Hi Peter ,English circa 1700-20

Red-orange varnish and all? The second certainly looks English... brown! biggrin.gif

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OK I will continue to play and humiliate myself further .....

The back of the first fiddle still looks Mirecourt to me (c1820 or earlier), but I'm going on outline, type of channeling, and the wood.

I can see that the f-holes and more specifically the arching around the f-holes on both instruments look very similar, but in the photos the body proportions look very different - the 2nd violin looks overly broad in the lower bouts. Maybe this is to do with camera angle.

You obviously know what you're looking at - the 2nd violin looks Italian to me, mid 18th century - you are saying the first violin is the same and not a composite. But now I think the first violin has a French back and an Italian front, possibly revarnished, although the purfling is unusual and identical front & back so it can't be a composite! Edgework seems different front & back.

Going round in circles, put us out of our misery. The f-holes are pretty gammy by the way (scottish terminology).

WHY AM I LETTING MYSELF IN FOR RIDICULE?

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WHY AM I LETTING MYSELF IN FOR RIDICULE?

Ridicule? You have good reasons for thinking French... i.e. extensive experience.

I have almost no experience... but then, people don't ridicule me either. They just ignore my posts. laugh.gif

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I almost had a heart attack when I saw the button with an ebony pin. Looks just like something I sold last year. Once I scrolled down a bit the workmanship is much different. So strange to see something so similar though.

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OK .... out on a limb here .. we amateurs have nothing to lose !! Not a composite .... not French or English..... I'd go late 18th ( say 1780 - 1800 ) northern Italian and perhaps with a re-varnish .... surely not a Santo Seraphin ???? !!! :o

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Fiddlecollector is spot on.

There is actually in my mind nothing ridiculous about the French idea, especially when it was suggested in the first place, and therefore implanted in all our brains. The outline though, doesn't really fit there.

For me, it's the left sound hole that gives it away.

It's a Barak Norman, London early 1700's (I can vaguely hear "wtf is Barak Norman?????)

Important Early London maker, especially of viols. Varnish as pure and untouched as you rarely see it.

It was sold cheap because it was a "composite"...

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btw, dendrochronological date is 1691 for the latest growth ring, and "of course" cross-dating with everything English (and Dutch, because they had the same provenance for spruce) of the period 1640 to about 1720.

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Fiddlecolector is spot on.

There is actually in my mind nothing ridiculous about the French idea, especially when the it was suggested in the first place, and therefore implanted in all our brains. The outline though, doesn't really fit there.

For me, it's the left sound hole that gives it away.

It's a Barak Norman, London early 1700's (I can vaguely hear "wtf is Barak Norman?????)

Important Early London maker, especially of viols. Varnish as pure and untouched as you rarely see it.

It was sold cheap because it was a "composite"...

Now I feel sooooo stupid !!! :( I'm going into town asap to the Powerhouse Museum.. they have a 1723 Barak Norman there that I must stare at !!!

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Very interesting. Best way to learn things is to make a fool of yourself!

The only early (ish) English violin I ever saw was a John Johnson - not authenticated, but a bit Thir-like and nothing like this.

Seen a lot of Barak Norman labels, though Duke and Furber are the market leaders!

I still think the f-holes are gammy (take a look at these Barak Norman f-holes) ... interestingly in your original example the laft f-hole looks rather like that but the right f-hole looks far more elegant and closed in the upper half - I assumed the left f-hole had been mashed somehow! It also seems far more evolved towards a classical violin than the Christies example (and the one in the V&A) - is it a lot later in your opinion?

Very exciting for the person who bought it - does it also have a sound?

Addie - just thought I'd say hello!

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Very interesting. Best way to learn things is to make a fool of yourself!

The only early (ish) English violin I ever saw was a John Johnson - not authenticated, but a bit Thir-like and nothing like this.

Seen a lot of Barak Norman labels, though Duke and Furber are the market leaders!

I still think the f-holes are gammy (take a look at these Barak Norman f-holes) ... interestingly in your original example the laft f-hole looks rather like that but the right f-hole looks far more elegant and closed in the upper half - I assumed the left f-hole had been mashed somehow! It also seems far more evolved towards a classical violin than the Christies example (and the one in the V&A) - is it a lot later in your opinion?

Very exciting for the person who bought it - does it also have a sound?

Addie - just thought I'd say hello!

Yes it was bought exclusively for its sound. The right f-hole has, as you point out has a more classical look and I suspect he was trying to emulate something he'd seen, and despite trying on the left one, just couldn't get away from his own style altogether.

Here are the ff's showing strong English 17th century style,(gammy?) some aspects recalling Pamphilon family makers, although I am pretty sure the V&A ones have been widened, and not very successfully either, pretty much eradicating the nicks..), but I can see an evolution in style towards the more classical Italian look.

3ffs.jpg

On this next one, the last two pictures are of the left f and mirror image of the right f-hole of the violin, where it's evident that Barak Norman just couldn't wait until the next fiddle to copy somebody elses f's!

4ffs.jpg

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btw, dendrochronological date is 1691 for the latest growth ring, and "of course" cross-dating with everything English (and Dutch, because they had the same provenance for spruce) of the period 1640 to about 1720.

Hi Peter,

Always interested in your dendro observations. What is the geographical origin of the spruce you mention above?

Cheers,Melvin

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Hi Peter,

Always interested in your dendro observations. What is the geographical origin of the spruce you mention above?

Cheers,Melvin

We're working on it, Melvin...

We don't actually have strong early geographical references crossdating with these instruments, but it is somewhere in the northern Alps.

The specific wood source is quite different to that generally supplying Italy, France, and most of Germany at the time, though some early German instruments also fit into that category.

The most interesting is that the Dutch and the English used wood from exactly the same place for a long period. This all changes quite suddenly in the 1720's, when wood used in England seems to be sourced further South, possibly suggesting a Mittenwald area connection but also expanding into eastern Switzerland.

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