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This past June I took my baby to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to give her a look at the amazing items on display. Much to my delight, there was an exhibit of rare Italian violins (and a Viola) which claimed to be one "of the most important collections of bowed Italian stringed instruments ever assembled by a private individual."

So I went about photographing each instrument in the collection. Is this in fact one "of the most important collections of bowed Italian stringed instruments ever assembled by a private individual?" I'm interested in your thoughts on the instruments. Do instruments like these ever get played or are they doomed to showcases for eternity? Pardon the quality of the photos, the lighting was very soft and some angles were entirely in the shadows.

Are these violins accurately described and attributed? Are they well-known instruments?

A few weeks back I made my first thread/post on MN: http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/329003-took-the-plunge-first-ebay-violin-toughts/. The discussion has evolved way beyond eBay. I understand that the Auction Scroll is probably considered a three ring circus compared to the Pegbox, but if you're willing to wade through the muck, I'd be surprised if even the most expert of MN readers didn't learn some valuable information from reading it. You will probably cringe here and there, but it's guaranteed a grin or two. I am sharing these photos with you guys in thanks to all those on MN who continue to participate in that thread with helpful and sometimes brilliant information and opinion ranging from the undistinguished origins of the OP Violin "the Heidegger" to very distinguished history lessons on issues related to old Viennese master violins and dark varnish, including Jacob Saunders, Martin Swan, Viola D'Amore, Jeffrey Holmes, victordriver, Blank face, etc.... one current discussion involves how corner blocks and the volume of air inside an instrument affect its sound, harmonics, and timbre. You want to know the secret ingredient that made the "black" "Viennese" varnish so dark? What varnish colors were mixed before adding the ingredient? How to distinguish typical Mark/Schoen violins from typical Mittenwalds? Take the plunge.

lam-violin-collection-metropolitan-museu

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This past June I took my baby to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to give her a look at the amazing items on display. Much to my delight, there was an exhibit of rare Italian violins (and a Viola) which claimed to be one "of the most important collections of bowed Italian stringed instruments ever assembled by a private individual."

So I went about photographing each instrument in the collection. Is this in fact one "of the most important collections of bowed Italian stringed instruments ever assembled by a private individual?" I'm interested in your thoughts on the instruments. Do instruments like these ever get played or are they doomed to showcases for eternity? Pardon the quality of the photos, the lighting was very soft and some angles were entirely in the shadows.

Are these violins accurately described and attributed? Are they well-known instruments?

 

Thanks for the photographs. You accidentally got the Gagliano scroll in at the end of the series on the 'ex Stanley Solomon' Andrea Amati viola.

 

These instruments were on display in Cremona for some time and have been published in various books and catalogues. The 'Baltic' del Gesù was also in the 1994 exhibition on Guarneri del Gesù at the Metropolitan. Maybe I would object to Paganini being described as mid 19th century as he died in 1840. (Details, details)

 

If it says "one of the most important collections" it does not declare that it is "the most important collection". Is this a real problem?  :huh:

 

Bruce

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I don't believe "collections" and collectors have been discussed on MN, and that might make an interesting topic.  How does one judge the importance of a collection?  It could be the numbers, the range of makers, or the quality of the examples.  Or, of course, all three.  I don't know what else the Lam collection might have had, but it certainly doesn't seem to be the greatest, though quite wonderful.  In quality, I would think the Fulton collection would be hard to beat.

 

Another plug for the Schoenbaum book, "The Violin; a Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument" is that he discusses some of the historically important collectors.

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Thanks, I moved the scroll photo. If this is one of the most important private collections of rare Italian violins, what are the others? No objections, just wondering if the statement and attributions were accurate.

Anyone on MN have a worthy rare Italian stringed instrument that you'd like to share?

Thanks for the photographs. You accidentally got the Gagliano scroll in at the end of the series on the 'ex Stanley Solomon' Andrea Amati viola.

These instruments were on display in Cremona for some time and have been published in various books and catalogues. The 'Baltic' del Gesù was also in the 1994 exhibition on Guarneri del Gesù at the Metropolitan. Maybe I would object to Paganini being described as mid 19th century as he died in 1840. (Details, details)

If it says "one of the most important collections" it does not declare that it is "the most important collection". Is this a real problem? :huh:

Bruce

Thanks, I moved the scroll photo. If this is one of the most important private collections of rare Italian violins, what are the others? No objections, just wondering if the statement and attributions were accurate.

Anyone on MN have a worthy rare Italian stringed instrument collection that you'd like to share?

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I don't believe "collections" and collectors have been discussed on MN, and that might make an interesting topic.  How does one judge the importance of a collection?  It could be the numbers, the range of makers, or the quality of the examples.  Or, of course, all three.  I don't know what else the Lam collection might have had, but it certainly doesn't seem to be the greatest, though quite wonderful.  In quality, I would think the Fulton collection would be hard to beat.

 

Another plug for the Schoenbaum book, "The Violin; a Social History of the World's Most Versatile Instrument" is that he discusses some of the historically important collectors.

damn-gif-o.gifhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_L._Fulton

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Thanks, I moved the scroll photo. If this is one of the most important private collections of rare Italian violins, what are the others? No objections, just wondering if the statement and attributions were accurate.

Anyone on MN have a worthy rare Italian stringed instrument collection that you'd like to share?

Hi BassClef,

 

I have worked on some of these instruments in my workshop and know the owners personally and I get really tired of the who's better and who's best mentality. :( Hyperbole rules!!!  :angry:

 

Count Cozio di Salabue, Luigi Tarisio, Baron Johann Knoop, Duc de Camposelice, David Fulton, Joseph Gillott, James Goding, Andrew Fountaine, General Kyd, C.H.C. Plowden, C.M. Sin, Henry Hottinger; the list is long and this is only a scratch in the surface.

 

Bruce

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Hi BassClef,

 

I have worked on some of these instruments in my workshop and know the owners personally and I get really tired of the who's better and who's best mentality. :( Hyperbole rules!!!  :angry:

 

Count Cozio di Salabue, Luigi Tarisio, Baron Johann Knoop, Duc de Camposelice, David Fulton, Joseph Gillott, James Goding, Andrew Fountaine, General Kyd, C.H.C. Plowden, C.M. Sin, Henry Hottinger; the list is long and this is only a scratch in the surface.

 

Bruce

Hi Bruce,

 

I did not intend to upset you with my question, my apologies. Can you offer any insight to the instruments that you worked on?  Are there more to the collection not exhibited here?  What work did you do on them? Which do you think is the finest of the lot?  The most well made, the "best" sounding? Very cool that you got to lay your hands on some of these beauts.  Do they get played or are they strictly museum pieces at this point.

 

Thanks for your contribution,

BassClef

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