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luthier

Ancient violin ID

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Hello to all.

   The violin pictured has me puzzled. I think it's likely from the 1700's, or possibly earlier. Since a google search was of no help, I'd like to have your opinions on where this one originated. It has a hand written Stainer label, the date being very hard to read. I don't think it was made by Stainer.

 

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post-24488-0-78896500-1387913613_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks for your input!

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Since I am no expert I won't tell you what it is, but indeed it doesn't look anything like the real Stainer violins one can see on the web. What makes you think it is a very old violin?

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Hello Robertdo, and happy holidays to all!

   It's difficult to make any age determination by looking at some pictures on the computer screen. With the violin in hand though, it jumps out at you. It's the feel, the patina inside and out, the wear, the repairs, the graft, the weight at 360 grams as pictured (ebony fingerboard and fittings), and just plain old intuition.

 

Hi Omobono,

   Which Albani are you referring to, as there were a lot of them? It's very interesting that you can see an early Brescian character in it. Can you elaborate on what leads you to that observation?

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I think also that the "exaggerated" arching of the top (over 20mm?) might be a clue. A clue of what, I don't know, but I am certain JSaunders will tell you soon... :)

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Hi troutabout,

  There is one flat spot on the front of the scroll, which is a chip parallel with the grain, and not caused by wear or fake antiquing which you seem to be hinting at. It doesn't show very well in the picture, but the roughness in the flat area confirms this. There is some subsequent wear on the edges of the flat. There are a lot of small details that don't show well in the pictures.

 

Hi again robertdo,

   There is nothing unusual about the high arching, which was the norm before Stradivari models took the world by storm around the early to mid1800's or so.

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  Which Albani are you referring to, as there were a lot of them? It's very interesting that you can see an early Brescian character in it. Can you elaborate on what leads you to that observation?

I'll try to illustrate but they were only superficial observations:

 

With Matthias Albani 

http://www.orpheon.org/OldSite/Seiten/Instruments/violine/vl-albanus.htm

 

dfy0.jpg

 

And here with Zanetto

 

q30z.jpg

 

zuwy.jpg

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I have been reluctant to comment on this violin (as have all the others) since I feel that one can’t really possibly say anything particularly useful (except perhaps that my bare bum is miles more reminiscent of a Dollenz/Alban/Stainer instrument than is this fiddle).

The first thing that one would have to work out is, if it is very old and has been hideously “tarted up” or if it is somewhat newer, trying to look old. Until one has that determined, that will be an insurmountable hindrance to working out what it could possibly be. It seems to have been heavily over varnished, to the point where all the useful telltale construction features are not clearly visible. One can see in all the usual end-grain areas, or uneven parts, scroll windings etc. that it was originally covered with a dark coloured varnish, prior to its present over-varnished state. The outline, with its wide open circular C bouts would make me want to put Silesian work on my check-list, although the relatively straight, parallel peg box wouldn’t. In fact the difference between the “stylistic handwriting” of those two things makes me wonder if they belong together.

That it was previously played by a “professional musician” sounds like the standard “one that got away” story to me. Altogether, when one considers the condition (multiple belly cracks, big square insets at the bridge feet, back SP crack, over-varnish and much more), I think my bottom line would be to put it back into its cardboard box, carry it back to the post office, and send it back to wherever it came from asap.

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I have been reluctant to comment on this violin (as have all the others) since I feel that one can’t really possibly say anything particularly useful (except perhaps that my bare bum is miles more reminiscent of a Dollenz/Alban/Stainer instrument than is this fiddle).

 

Was I that hideously wrong?

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I have been reluctant to comment on this violin (as have all the others) since I feel that one can’t really possibly say anything particularly useful (except perhaps that my bare bum is miles more reminiscent of a Dollenz/Alban/Stainer instrument than is this fiddle).

For this once I am thankful that you omitted photos :P:lol:

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Well, I have no intention to return the violin.

My thanks to all who have contributed to this thread so far, especially to omobono and Jacob.

I still think there is more that can be said about it. I like the way it sounds, which is probably the most important aspect. There are of course condition issues which take away from the monetary value, but that's not my concern.

 

   The origin is what interests me the most, and I was hoping to gain some insight here. 

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Your poor fiddle certainly has seen its fair share of the repair bench.

Be interesting to see how sound it is or what further restoration it might demand in the time ahead.

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. The outline, with its wide open circular C bouts would make me want to put Silesian work on my check-list, although the relatively straight, parallel peg box wouldn’t. In fact the difference between the “stylistic handwriting” of those two things makes me wonder if they belong together.

 

Of course it's very similar to a Beck Wölfelsdorf/Glatz pattern (although more roughly made), just the straight pegbox without throat would fit.

I hope you all had a nice chrismas eve!

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I have been reluctant to comment on this violin (as have all the others) since I feel that one can’t really possibly say anything particularly useful (except perhaps that my bare bum is miles more reminiscent of a Dollenz/Alban/Stainer instrument than is this fiddle).

The first thing that one would have to work out is, if it is very old and has been hideously “tarted up” or if it is somewhat newer, trying to look old. Until one has that determined, that will be an insurmountable hindrance to working out what it could possibly be. It seems to have been heavily over varnished, to the point where all the useful telltale construction features are not clearly visible. One can see in all the usual end-grain areas, or uneven parts, scroll windings etc. that it was originally covered with a dark coloured varnish, prior to its present over-varnished state. The outline, with its wide open circular C bouts would make me want to put Silesian work on my check-list, although the relatively straight, parallel peg box wouldn’t. In fact the difference between the “stylistic handwriting” of those two things makes me wonder if they belong together.

That it was previously played by a “professional musician” sounds like the standard “one that got away” story to me. Altogether, when one considers the condition (multiple belly cracks, big square insets at the bridge feet, back SP crack, over-varnish and much more), I think my bottom line would be to put it back into its cardboard box, carry it back to the post office, and send it back to wherever it came from asap.

Being no expert at all (not even an amateur) I would expect to read something like that about this violin, it's about "common sense", and by means of that I would also suggest it not to be older than (late?) 19th (or at least the different parts of it)

 

As a player I completely stay away from violins like that, no matter how good the sound may be.

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As Jacob pointed out, it's nearly impossible to tell exactly something about the age in this heavy over varnished state; by the style I would think, first half of the 19th (after 1860 the violin production stopped in Glatz),

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BTW jakes bum looks like a 1742 del Gesu . . .

 

 

-_-   :rolleyes:   ;)

:lol: !!!!!! [four paragraphs of obvious comments [appalling cracks?] omitted]!!!!!! :lol:

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