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Anything distinctly Czech about a Czech instrument?

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Is there something distinctly Czech about this Czech violin?  I was just comparing what I think I'm starting to see on it,  to the possibly German viola...

 

Other than the scroll...I quite like it.  But maybe I shouldn't be liking it? :blink:

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/2-ANTIQUE-INSTRUMENTS-for-RESTORATION-1-VIOLIN-L-F-Prokop-1927-2-VIOLA-15-2-/351024851651?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item51bab62ac3

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One should know that there are literally thousands of Ladislav Prokop violins, so you will realise how seriously to take ebayesque “Schmäh” like: ”This is a master-level (hand-made) violin from the best L.F. Prokop’s period”. He will, at best have made a masterful job of wheedling the label in through the f-hole.

It is frustrating to listen to people trying to categorize two Schönbach (or near) instruments by distinguishing between “Czech” and “German”. The Schönbach makers were Sudeten-German, as were some 3 million people within the boarders of Czechoslovakia when it was created in 1919, and many would have been indignant, had you called them “Czech” to there faces. On Sunday, as it happens, I went to an exhibition about the disgraceful circumstances under which they were all driven out of Czechoslovakia after the war.

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Well... for what it's worth...as an ethnic German myself...with a host of non-German family members from all over Europe...I actually do understand...

 

However...as a stringed instrument (and antique) enthusiast I'm just trying to find some way to whack my way through the jungle and find an anchor (if that makes sense).

 

Maybe it's just not possible without actually being in the business and having violins in hand to look at...along with some frame of reference as to what I'm actually looking at.

 

In the meantime I am enjoying the wonderful advice, shared knowledge (and patience) of MNers...

 

...and I have filed "Prokop" mentally under "Factory Instrument and Label Wheedler" :D

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"He uses a model Guarneri and Stradivari"  Yup, that covers the bases nicely. :lol:   Rather priced beyond my level of involvement.  Pretty thing, anyway :)

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This isn't what I would call a "factory" viola. Ladislav Herclik was, as visible by this instrument, a skilled maker, whose reputation was very unfortunately ruined by the millions of faked labels glued into real factory violins after the opening of the iron curtain.

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Very unfortunate.  Also unfortunate I wouldn't be able to tell a real one from a fake at this point in time. :mellow:

 

Vda...yes...it is very pretty!  :)

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Well... for what it's worth...as an ethnic German myself...with a host of non-German family members from all over Europe...I actually do understand...

 

However...as a stringed instrument (and antique) enthusiast I'm just trying to find some way to whack my way through the jungle and find an anchor (if that makes sense).

 

 

 

Buying them for how they sound and/or only when they cost close to nothing, worked for me. 

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Very unfortunate.  Also unfortunate I wouldn't be able to tell a real one from a fake at this point in time. :mellow:

 

Vda...yes...it is very pretty!  :)

 

Unfortunately there are no photos or other significant informations available online, which I could link here; only a violin by his brother Josef Bohumil (b. 1903, trained by Otokar Spidlen), http://paganini.cz/en/violins/violins---after-1920/273-josef-b.-herclik/, who is more reknown than Ladislav (b. 1895) or their father Frantisek (1866-1948).

Jalovecz shows two violins by Ladislav in his book about the bohemian makers, but the small b&w photos are not very significant.

But typical for this period of the czech violin making, as far as I know, are for instance the sharp and high edges, deep fluting of the table and the ffs and a thick red or orange oil varnish, as visible at the viola you posted. The scroll appears to be a bit weaker, but is in accordance to the scroll pictured in the catalogue. One could wonder, if he used a prefabricated Schönbach box or made all parts by himself, but the finish of the instrument shows IMO opinion good workmanship and personality and gives a good probability, that this instrument is "a real one".

 

Edit: It would need a neck reset, as visible at photo #7, where the fingerboard nearly touches  the table - but this is also an evidence, that we see an old instrument, not a new made fake.

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Thanks!  More details for me to look out for...I am going to try and be brave and actually ask to look at things on this trip (vs. my usual chickening out and running away approach)... :ph34r:

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I see the Ebay Herclik viola has been relisted. From a bit of research I see a few suspicious things about its authenticity.  Even though a previous post here says that redish varnish was popular in that period, if you look at the google hit for Herclick images, most of the instruments are brown on yellow, as a biolgraphy site noted was his typical varnish.  And one of the google images shows quite an elaborate lable, unlike the simple one on this viola.  I am intrigued, though, that it seems to have been used in an established chamber orchestra.  Any thoughts?

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I just bought an undated Josef Bohumil Herclik violin for €400 plus €40 postage from a Mr Frank Hosemann a dealer from somewhere near Stuttgart (i am in Australia). It came with a good bow (about 5cm shorter than those produced today) and an original crocodile skin case with brass label with Herclik's name. It is an absolutely wonderful instrument with a very strong tone and beautiful to play. I can't stop playing it. I would recommend it any day as superior to most other choices anywhere near the price.

Edited by JanMartin

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