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How about this fiddle?


DGerald StephenR

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Hello Dear Colleagues,

I have seen quite a few of the carved head scroll and inlaid instruments throughout the years but this one here is of a much higher execution than I am accustomed to. Usually they are cruder and dull sounding but this instrument actually sounds quite nice. It bears the Collin-Mezin label however it is NOT signed nor is the back of the instrument, such as in other CM instruments I have had. It does look to be French to me and I contacted Mr. Terrier at Luthiers-Mirecourt who also seemed a little perplexed with its origin so I'm wondering if anyone here has encountered one like it. Mr. Terrier was of the opinion that perhaps it came from Thibouville in the white and was finished by Collin-Mezin. He thought the inlay work could have been by Billotet, Serdet or the Mougenot families with the head carving by perhaps Colson. Leaving me with the final opinion that it is "better than what we often encounter"

Thoughts anyone?

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Hi,just throwing some conjectures your way.

I was just wondering, if you thought that the marquetry in the back and the head could have been made later by some other wood worker? (perhaps a request of a musician?) Did you look at the varnish under black light? This could give us a clue to know if it was added after varnishing...

What is your gut feeling, having the instruments in your hands?

Also how original does the "Collin-Mezin" label look? (as we know people who don't mind to add some fake one's)

I've seen some marquetry of that style before but more on eastern european/ German instruments.

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...I'm wondering if anyone here has encountered one like it...Thoughts anyone?

I see these from time to time. This looks to like like a lower grade of this type of thing. In the higher grades the carving and marquetry are more elaborate, and you see other features like carved fleurs-de-lis in the plate corners and a Latin inscription going around the ribs. The label often says Tieffenbrucker or something like that.

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First of all, Roland Terrier knows this stuff back to front, and I wouldn't ever pick a fight with him about a Mirecourt instrument .... which this definitely is.

However, Collin-Mezin never sold this type of violin, or at least it never appeared in any of their catalogues, so I would discount the Collin-Mezin label.

This seems to me to be a typical JTL Duiffoprugcar model, nice wood, not bad varnish.

Derazey workshops (not Honore Derazey) made some superior examples of this kind of thing, but I agree that this is too basic for them.

So yes, I would say it's better than average in the sense that it's not a Bohemian version (which would be much more common), but nor is it the best of these .... somewhere in the middle of the range of possibles!

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Hi,just throwing some conjectures your way.

I was just wondering, if you thought that the marquetry in the back and the head could have been made later by some other wood worker? (perhaps a request of a musician?) Did you look at the varnish under black light? This could give us a clue to know if it was added after varnishing...

What is your gut feeling, having the instruments in your hands?

Also how original does the "Collin-Mezin" label look? (as we know people who don't mind to add some fake one's)

I've seen some marquetry of that style before but more on eastern european/ German instruments.

Hi Charline...and thanks for the questions, I actually had much the same opinion as you; wondering if the inlay and such had been added later. I have not yet look at the instrument under a blacklight but will do so this even or at my first opportunity. My gut feeling is that it is in its original state and that the Collin-Mezin label is not original. There is a repair date of Nov. 1942 inked onto the interior back of the instrument from a shop in Vancouver, Canada. The neck has been reset and has the addition of a heelpiece. I still believe the instrument to be of French origin.

I believe the finer examples are attributed to Derazey.

The Derazey workshop made fine examples of these but I don't think this is one of them.

I see these from time to time. This looks to like like a lower grade of this type of thing. In the higher grades the carving and marquetry are more elaborate, and you see other features like carved fleurs-de-lis in the plate corners and a Latin inscription going around the ribs. The label often says Tieffenbrucker or something like that.

I too see examples of these but like Mr. Terrier said, and I certainly agree; this is a better example than often seen. Usually the head carvings are more crude and basic and the marquetry are of a much lesser execution...as well, the instrument just doesn't seem to be as nicely crafted as this example. But I agree that it is not as elaborate as some examples...I just can't agree that its a low grade instrument...

Thanks for the opinions folks :D I wonder when I'll hear from Martin, as I'm sure he'll have some thoughts on this too...

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First of all, Roland Terrier knows this stuff back to front, and I wouldn't ever pick a fight with him about a Mirecourt instrument .... which this definitely is.

However, Collin-Mezin never sold this type of violin, or at least it never appeared in any of their catalogues, so I would discount the Collin-Mezin label.

This seems to me to be a typical JTL Duiffoprugcar model, nice wood, not bad varnish.

Derazey workshops (not Honore Derazey) made some superior examples of this kind of thing, but I agree that this is too basic for them.

So yes, I would say it's better than average in the sense that it's not a Bohemian version (which would be much more common), but nor is it the best of these .... somewhere in the middle of the range of possibles!

Thanks Martin...I had no intention of disputing Mr. Terrier's opinion of the instrument, just wondering if someone had seen something quite familiar as it surprised me that Mr. Terrier had a few concerns, or rather referred to it as something better than often seen. He also made note that Collin-Mezin didn't offer an example of these types of instruments but he did think, as I mentioned in the initial post, that perhaps it was ordered in-the-white from Thibouville and finished by Collin-Mezin. I'll try for better photos this even as the present ones were done very quickly at my bench and I much like the varnish.

Thanks for the thoughts! :D

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I just discovered is very interesting and I think I'll contact these folks to see if they have any information on the instrument that is (or was...perhaps its sold) in their possession as I believe it to be the closest example that I have seen to the one here at the shop. They appear to be sister..or bearded-brother instruments :blink:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions kind folk! :D

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I just discovered is very interesting and I think I'll contact these folks to see if they have any information on the instrument that is (or was...perhaps its sold) in their possession as I believe it to be the closest example that I have seen to the one here at the shop. They appear to be sister..or bearded-brother instruments :blink:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and opinions kind folk! :D

Wow, that must have been mind blowing seeing that vid the first time. Without a doubt the same hand did both. Being one who carves "creatures" and things, I am partial to heads of animals, I think of a good violin as a companion. This is why I do cats,foxes and dragons {everyone should own a pet dragon ay least once :D }

And well, as skilled as that is, personaly, those very life like human heads creep me out big time. Some people are scared of clowns, me, violins with realy life like heads, its like some witch doctor shrunk some poor guys head and mounted it on a violin. I suppose with a hinged jaw one could develope an impressive ventriliquist act :lol:

Well thanks for sharing, I enjoy seeing these types of things, even if they do creep me out

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