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Stephen Churchill

Violins in Museums around the world

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Hi All,

  I've been working on compiling a list of museums with significant collections.  I've created a google map for easy geographical reference.  

  I'm looking for input on the displays, if I've missed any significant ones, and for pictures if anyone can contribute (referenced of course).  The list is here.

 

Cheers

Stephen

(I hope the link works)

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This is an important piece of work and long overdue. However, a lot more research is required. First perhaps a point might be made about what might or might not be considered a significant collection. For example the Tullie House Museum in Carlisle has a beautiful Andrea Amati that I have examined several times. Since it is the only violin in the museum it might not be regarded as a significant collection, but I would argue that the instrument itself is highly significant. In this respect there are several museums (I can think of one in London and one in Berlin) with just one Stradivari (significant?). On the other hand there are many museums with larger collections which are not well catalogued and where the attributions are often rather dubious. Does this make these museums less important, or does this factor merely require some additional comment, in case someone wishes to make long overdue attributions.

Whatever the reason, on the google map you do appear to be missing several significant collections such as the important Czech Museum in Prague and one or two smaller museums like the Ashmolean, which includes the Messiah Strad. I am afraid that I don't have the time to list, or more importantly to grade those that you have missed. Nevertheless, although I would urge readers to make contributions, I would also urge caution. Not everything in a museum is significant simply because it is in a museum. In spite of these quick comments, the start that you have made is more than significant and I shall be using this useful site in future.

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http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/english/Museum_english.htm

 

Subject to Roger's caveats, the museum in Markneukirchen is worthy of a visit -- depending on your area(s) of interest.  And if you are in the area buying tonewood anyway...Others here are better qualified than I to discuss the merits of the collection of mostly regional instruments (as I recall after the passage of four years).

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Thanks for the comments and inputs!  I agree much more research can be invested here.  

 

There are three criteria that come to mind:

A ) 'Fame' - Famous instruments/Instruments from famous makers.

B ) 'Historical Significant' - Instruments which are famous for other reasons.

C ) Size of the collection - Large collections of instruments.

 

Also I have focused on violins, with some coverage of violas and cellos.

 

Based on this I made a single 5-star ranking:

Ratings:
 
***** – Must see!  Multiple famous violins, usually with a large collection.
**** – Very interesting, some famous violins, typically with a moderately sized collection.
*** – Interesting, some historically significant instruments or a large collection
** – Less interesting, often region specific
* – Limited interest, small collection of stringed instruments (dozens), no specifically ‘famous’ instruments.
 
The links on the page open up detailed descriptions of the museums, and I've included a description of how many relevant instruments are there and what famous ones are there if I could find it.  I think we should include caveats if there are dubious assignments -- this is where input from more experienced members would be invaluable.
 
The goals of this list is to inform people of where they can see:
 a ) where they can see exemplar instruments 
 b ) expand understanding of violin making history, including expanding people's understanding beyond the cult of Stradivari :)
 c ) help people find museums they can visit both in their region (including small displays), and if they travel abroad. 
 
I will add:
- Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery
Czech Museum in Prague
Academia Santa Cecilia: 

- Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali

The Markneukirchen museum

 
Roger:  Thanks for your input!  The Ashmolean is included in the map, perhaps i have the location incorrect, I'll reconfirm.
 
Please send more suggestions and inputs!

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The Palace of The Legion of Honor, which is one of two museums in the Civic Museum of San Francisco system, owns Heifetz's del Gesu. The violin is on loan to the concertmaster of the S.F. Symphony, and my understanding is that it's only returned to the museum and displayed for a few short weeks each year. So it's not much of a public opportunity, but there are few individual instruments that could be considered more significant.

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OK! I finally found the Ashmolean, but it is far too well hidden for such an important collection. Perhaps you could find a better way of showing the location on the map. This is especially important in view of your point C. Also the Ashmolean only gets four and a half stars. Off hand I would rate this as one of the worlds finest and most important collections. I'm rooting for 5 stars. It would be difficult to find anything better. I am nevertheless very impressed by what you have so far achieved. Has it been reviewed for the Strad yet?

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Stephen,

 

Congratulations on starting this highly important project. MN will give you lots of great feedback. Focus on the missing data, and circulate this widely. I think you should go on TOBI and violinist.com to get another audience. Fly this past experts such as Chris Reuning. 

 

 

Mike

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A little note as to the principal exhibits in each case would be helpful,

e.g.

Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma. - The "Tuscan" Strad 1690, Strad Mandolin and Tecchler viola.

I realize this is a huge job.

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Great initiative.  My suggestion FWIW is that you do not make any value judgement on the collection before deciding to include it or not.  Of course the listing will never be complete, but I do not see a problem with that or with including a reference to a local museum that contains examples of local vernacular work.  By all means give some indication of the types of instruments held in collections so those in search of Cremonae don't get a shock when they find something else.  Subjective judgement in directories are only going to be a source of pointless dispute in my experience.

 

Regards,

 

Tim

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I see in the November issue of The Strad that Yale University Collection has recently acquired instruments from the Andrew Petryn Collections including a Nicolò Amati and Andrea Guarneri. But maybe this has happened some time back already?

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http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/329111-are-these-violins-as-good-as-claimed-photos/

Check out this collection it moves around but was at the met in NYC recently.

You can use my photos with credit to BassClef from Maestronet.

 

Hi BassClef,

  You raise a good point.  There are many collections that could be tracked as well.  CIMCIM includes (CIMCIM International Directory of Musical Instrument Collections) includes collections, but given that access to the public is limited I haven't planned to include collections in the list, for now.

   If the collection remains on display, at least most of the time, I will include it.

 

thanks!

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Stephen,

 

Congratulations on starting this highly important project. MN will give you lots of great feedback. Focus on the missing data, and circulate this widely. I think you should go on TOBI and violinist.com to get another audience. Fly this past experts such as Chris Reuning. 

 

 

Mike

 

Hi Michael,

    can you elaborate on TOBI?  I haven't heard of that before.

 

Thanks

Stephen

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A little note as to the principal exhibits in each case would be helpful,

e.g.

Academia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma. - The "Tuscan" Strad 1690, Strad Mandolin and Tecchler viola.

I realize this is a huge job.

 

Hi Omobono,

   I've included these if you click on the museum links on the page.  Where I could find information on the displays.  Helping to verify this, especially in smaller museums.

 

thanks!

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OK! I finally found the Ashmolean, but it is far too well hidden for such an important collection. Perhaps you could find a better way of showing the location on the map. This is especially important in view of your point C. Also the Ashmolean only gets four and a half stars. Off hand I would rate this as one of the worlds finest and most important collections. I'm rooting for 5 stars. It would be difficult to find anything better. I am nevertheless very impressed by what you have so far achieved. Has it been reviewed for the Strad yet?

 

Hi Roger,

  The 4 1/2 stars is a general google rating of the Ashmolean.  Its seems on the map it get put underneath the Bates collection, though its higher in my listing.  I'll try to fix that.

  I haven't approached the Strad, I hadn't considered that.  I'll see if I can find contact information on their webpage.  

 

Thanks!

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Hi Omobono,

   I've included these if you click on the museum links on the page.  Where I could find information on the displays.  Helping to verify this, especially in smaller museums.

 

Oh Thanks. I should have clicked one more time to check.

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Stephen, I came across this reference which may be of interest to you.

If refers to the 1735 "King" del Gesu in Zagreb. 

 

http://info.hazu.hr/en/about_academy/foundation_of_academy/violina_king-en/

 

also the Conservatorio "Giuseppe Verdi" di Milano boasts an Amati, 2 Guadagnini, a Testore & an Grancino

 

http://www.consmilano.it/it/biblioteca/collezione-strumenti-storici

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I was waking by the met yesterday with some time to spare around closing time and decided to spend a few minutes with the gorgeous instruments on display. Please forgive the iPhone quality pics. Here is some of the collection on display yesterday. I enjoyed turning on the flash lite function on my phone and peering into the body's at the original Amati strad and dg labels.post-66674-0-85908500-1416928691_thumb.jpgpost-66674-0-48682800-1416928749_thumb.jpg

post-66674-0-07129200-1416929329_thumb.jpg

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