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François Médard ¿?


jandepora
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Jandepora, 

 

I think we are being rather polite. I don't think a dendrochronology will be much help on this instrument. If the consensus of this post is wrong, that it is mid-eighteenth-century Paris work, the best way to prove it so will be to go to Paris, visit the shops in the Rue du Rome and see what the people there think (literally turn up and walk from door to door). The only way that you will be able to understand the internal structure of the violin, is if you already know what to look for in old Parisian work, by seeing other things, but this isn't the kind of violin where internal structure will be very helpful, and respectfully if you can't see why it cannot have been made by a pupil of Stradivari (or what the differences are between this and the Medard-school violin on the Orpheon website) you are a long way from being able to make the necessary decisions to honestly work out what the violin is. So go to Paris with the violin because what you will learn from shop to shop will really open your eyes to this part of trying to understand a violin. 

 

For what it's worth, this violin labelled "Nicolas Medard a Nancy 1670" is in a small museum in Lille, and is what I consider (for many reasons) to be a genuine example, although I have seen other correlating violins and cellos. 

 

attachicon.gifimage.ashx.jpeg

Thank you very much for posting this photo! Although angle and size isn't the optimum, this violin reminds me strongly of some 17th century dutch makers, the amatise ffs, long Cs, the fully rounded arching - could there've been a strong correlation between these schools?

The violin from the Orpheon site is much later and looks quite different IMO, I'm wondering why they called it "school" of Medard (possibly to distinguish it from the Castagneri school?)

I don't know, if I understood you right, were you suggesting, that in the mid 18th only one maker produced all the Paris violins and they were only branded with the different names we know, as Salomon or Gavinies, and this in different qualities? This would be an interesting point, I would appreciate to hear more.

Reg. Gavinies, there appear to be also different types of violins to find under his name, especially with very opened C-bouts as at the Bonhams cello, long swung f-wings as at Martin's violin, or more closed Cs and amatise ffs like here

http://www.viaductviolins.com/English/Public/InstrumentSampleZoom.php?PicSelector=Top&LotSelector=6682#

 

At least I'm wondering about this violin, which I counted to the late 18th Paris school for it's large LOB of 363 mm (and maybe I should dendro it), if it could be from the "circle of Gavinies"; it has a really beautiful varnish and a one piece lower rib.( At first it's in the need of this "months of sandsacking" Martin once spoke about. :huh: )

post-57937-0-52945200-1419340302_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-14593900-1419340323_thumb.jpgpost-57937-0-85073200-1419340346_thumb.jpg

 

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Jandepora, 

 

I think we are being rather polite. I don't think a dendrochronology will be much help on this instrument. If the consensus of this post is wrong, that it is mid-eighteenth-century Paris work, the best way to prove it so will be to go to Paris,

 

The wood for the bellies of Violins made in France before about 1730 does not appear to originate from the same geographical source as that used by later makers in that century.

The wood used by these mid-to-late 18th century makers use is rarely "old", as in, laid to season for extended periods of time. So generally, a French violin of the 1780 would typically show a dendrochronological date of between 15 to 25 years prior to manufacture.

 

So if the consensus is right, dendro (assuming that it would work in this case) would be helpful and would support it, if it revealed a date of, for instance, of 1765, whilst at the same time finding that the tree-ring data correlated primarily with many other contemporary French instruments. (ie same source of wood).

 

If the consensus was wrong, and that in fact the violin was from an earlier period, then dendro would (again assuming it work) show a date in the late, 1600's or very early 1700's, so helpful too!

 

Blank face, I had a very similar violin recently stamped inside Nicolas Mathieu, I'll see if I can find pictures (ff's were different, but the rest is quite close)

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Thank you very much for posting this photo! Although angle and size isn't the optimum, this violin reminds me strongly of some 17th century dutch makers, the amatise ffs, long Cs, the fully rounded arching - could there've been a strong correlation between these schools?

The violin from the Orpheon site is much later and looks quite different IMO, I'm wondering why they called it "school" of Medard (possibly to distinguish it from the Castagneri school?)

 

It reminds me of the Dutch school very strongly as well, that doesn't deter me. There was a thread some time ago where I showed various Louis XVI painted cellos and other things that logic-dictates must be Medard or their close comparisons, and this falls well within those boundaries. I think that these mid-17th century schools, across the low countries, England and France prove to be far more closely connected than we have imagined previously.

 

On that note, the one thing I will say for the Orpheon "medard-school" violin is that it ticked quite a few boxes that an English Pamphilon might, but not enough for me to go away thinking that it was one at all. I do remember bidding years ago (when I knew much less) on a typical Pamphilon, but with beautiful slightly exagerated Amatise f-holes. I was underbidder, and it sold to someone [i know who, just not telling] who had a slightly better idea than me, and for the same reasons called it a Slagmeulen.

 

 

I don't know, if I understood you right, were you suggesting, that in the mid 18th only one maker produced all the Paris violins and they were only branded with the different names we know, as Salomon or Gavinies, and this in different qualities? This would be an interesting point, I would appreciate to hear more.

Reg. Gavinies, there appear to be also different types of violins to find under his name, especially with very opened C-bouts as at the Bonhams cello, long swung f-wings as at Martin's violin, or more closed Cs and amatise ffs like here

http://www.viaductviolins.com/English/Public/InstrumentSampleZoom.php?PicSelector=Top&LotSelector=6682#

 

 

I don't think you did understand me right - so thanks for asking me to clarify. In fact the violin on the link is an excellent case in point, as I had one 3 years ago which was identical in every respect, except it was branded SALOMON on the back. I very much doubt if either Salomon or Gavinies made those brown, rather sterile and very exact violins, but somebody unknown to us produced them instead for Salomon, for Gavinies, and probably for other Parisian dealers of the same period. 

 

Martin's on the other hand is a hand that is far more individual, far more considered and not a hand that I have ever seen on instruments other than those stamped Gavinies. It also appears to be an extremely rare hand, whereas the violin that started this thread, the brown Gavinies in the link above, and a few other styles come up under a variety of brands. Knowing exactly who made these may prove completely impossible, just as working out who made Lockey Hill school violins or Thompson violins is impossible.

 

Here is my Chappuy (original neck, fingerboard and tailpiece) which is a similar case of being genuinely sold by, stamped by Chappuy, but showing a hand that exists across a variety of different names.

 

post-52750-0-05461700-1419354403_thumb.jpgpost-52750-0-83119300-1419354427_thumb.jpgpost-52750-0-79774000-1419354453_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

At least I'm wondering about this violin, which I counted to the late 18th Paris school for it's large LOB of 363 mm (and maybe I should dendro it), if it could be from the "circle of Gavinies"; it has a really beautiful varnish and a one piece lower rib.( At first it's in the need of this "months of sandsacking" Martin once spoke about. :huh: )

attachicon.gifIMG_3700.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_3701.JPGattachicon.gifIMG_3705.JPG

 

 

I've spent a few minutes looking at your violin. I don't think we know when these over 360 violins became fashionable in France, and I think we tend to think of this as a late 18th century trait, when I think the first evidence for them is much, much earlier. It looks too precise to be related to Martin's Gavinies, and actually the soundholes give a slight feeling of the Medard-type Amati model. Red varnish like that seems to end with Bertrand, Bocquay and the likes around the 1730s-40s. I'd keep an open mind. Definitely downloading these photos to my list of things to keep looking at.

 

 

 

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Thanks Peter and Ben for your advices; in fact the colour of bottom and belly in my photos appear much too red here (a technical problem with the color balance of this damned laptop I'm doing my photos on), the light orange of the scroll is more right.

 

 

 

 

 

I don't think you did understand me right - so thanks for asking me to clarify. In fact the violin on the link is an excellent case in point, as I had one 3 years ago which was identical in every respect, except it was branded SALOMON on the back. I very much doubt if either Salomon or Gavinies made those brown, rather sterile and very exact violins, but somebody unknown to us produced them instead for Salomon, for Gavinies, and probably for other Parisian dealers of the same period. 

 

Martin's on the other hand is a hand that is far more individual, far more considered and not a hand that I have ever seen on instruments other than those stamped Gavinies. It also appears to be an extremely rare hand, whereas the violin that started this thread, the brown Gavinies in the link above, and a few other styles come up under a variety of brands. Knowing exactly who made these may prove completely impossible, just as working out who made Lockey Hill school violins or Thompson violins is impossible.

 

Here is my Chappuy (original neck, fingerboard and tailpiece) which is a similar case of being genuinely sold by, stamped by Chappuy, but showing a hand that exists across a variety of different names.

 

attachicon.gifHEBB14007 Chappuy (2).jpgattachicon.gifHEBB14007 Chappuy (5).jpgattachicon.gifHEBB14007 Chappuy (8).jpg

 

That's a fascinating way to look at this school (and maybe at some others?), leading away from the reduction on names and brands only. Thanks for the inside look.

And merry chrismas days for all here!

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It has an interesting bearing on certificates and authenticity. For what it's worth, I don't see any problem in recognising that something was made for and sold by the person whose stamp is on the back, especially at this level. It's probably a more honest approach than fine-slicing different unknown or barely known hands. Although in if you look at things too rigidly it becomes a baffling paradox. 

 

Happy Christmas! Everyone!

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  • 1 month later...

Is posible than The neck and the ribs was later added? Maybe in a restoration later work?

What other things do you see that can tell me that is or not an old school french violin or a mittenwald school?

Do you see anything that can tell me that is first mid xviii century violin?

 

One part lower ribs and also notches under or over the pin aren't exclusively Mittenwald features at all; I found similar ribs with some 18th and early 19th century french violins.

IMO there is absolutely no evidence that the parts are composed or not french from the period.

Here is a typical Mittenwald rib and inserted saddle for comparison, there are some important differences reg. the form of notch and saddle:

post-57937-0-38318600-1422477321_thumb.jpg

Or a one-part rib of a Chappuy with inserted saddle (which is most probably not original)

post-57937-0-07589600-1422477639_thumb.jpg

 

The condition looks quite restorable, the cracks are poorly glued, but there seems to be no big loss of wood or varnish. It all depends from what your (competent) luthier is asking for the repair and your budget. BTW, the decoration appears to be unoriginal, the workmanship looks too different from the neatly style of the rest.

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Thanks for the photos Blank face. I had no idea there was a tradition in France of this building technique.Does this mean they were building on an inside form Cremonese style?

 

  I am adding a couple of photos of a Mittenwald that has a weird brecian shape and double purfling. Just for discussion purposes, not nessesarily to illustrate any points.It has a V notch below the button which does not show well in the pictures.post-28994-0-68363400-1422495563_thumb.jpgpost-28994-0-16793600-1422495602_thumb.jpgpost-28994-0-88344800-1422495643_thumb.jpgpost-28994-0-66972000-1422495520_thumb.jpg

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Here is an informative thread about french construction methods:

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330691-construction-methods-of-the-early-french-school/

 

In shortness, they probably built the ribs on the back without an inside mould, but in opposite to Saxony the corner blocks were glued to the back before installing the ribs, what makes them appear triangular or sometimes longer at the inner bouts. Also it seems to be more economic with this method, to use a one piece lower rib, similar to the "Cremonese".

 

Reg. the violin you posted, David, I'm afraid that it isn't a Mittenwald at all. Beside some other evidences (scroll, varnish, flutings or purfling style) what appears to be Markneukirchen/Schönbach style, I can see clearly a rib joint at the endpin, and what looks like a V-notch, ain't it more a gap in the joint?

 

Edit: Ok, after some "blow-up" I can see that it is (or once was) a one-piece rib with the flames running in the same direction. An interesting and unusual violin, of course.

Edited by Blank face
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Please don't treat any of the below as real history - it's just a few observations that might be of interest.

 

Chappuy is actually a very difficult name, and "Chappuy" violins exemplify everything that's problematic about the French VM trade. The difficulty is in pinning down who made what, what constitutes a legitimate Chappuy, whether a brand is de rigeur or not, and trickiest of all, how to price the various different types of "Chappuy". This difficulty persists with French makers well into the 20th century, and if you apply the usual paradigm of the lonely genius luthier slaving away in a garret executing every piece of an instrument and then lovingly labelling or stamping his work, this will lead to serious misunderstandings, and even to a suspicion of deception where there is none.

 

It's best to start from the concept of a brand. A brand is literally a burnt-in mark, such as the "Chappuy A Paris" seen on the back of many (but not all) Chappuys. A brand is also what it means today, a trademark or a logo indicating who is responsible for a product. Nike don't employ people to make trainers, but they sell trainers under their brand.

 

NA Chappuy died in 1784. Before that time, several different models of violin appeared with his label and/or brand, so different from each other that some at least must have been outsourced. The classic Chappuy, refined, idiosyncratic, and latterly with the typical Parisian scroll supplied by a scrollmaker, is the one Ben has posted. I have an identical one, but with a different varnish with heavy lamp-blacking. Not nearly as nice to look at but the same violin.

 

post-34919-0-18219500-1422530330_thumb.jpg

 

 

There's also a model which is generally heavier and rounder, wider across the bouts, which looks to me like a late 18th century Mirecourt violin. The literature reports various unconscionable monstrosities bearing the Chappuy brand, but in my experience these are later.

 

So Chappuy didn't make all the violins which he sold with his brand. We also know that he made violins for other makers, most notably Salomon, and that he continued to make Salomons (correctly branded and to the Salomon mold) for Salomon's widow after the death of the man himself. We can assume that the same thing happened to Chappuy - I think this has a lot to do with the relative emancipation of French wives, and their ability to take over and manage a business. But it's also to do with the saleability of brands - there's a clear history going back at least as far as Chappuy of brands (the actual bits of metal and/or the intellectual property) being a bit fluid. And this still happened in C20 Mirecourt, where they were bought and sold.

 

Going into the 19th century we still see plenty of "Chappuy" violins, though the further from 1784 they get, the less excuse there is to call them Chappuys. Some of these are really very primitive, some are of high quality - the primitive ones have done a lot to confuse people and to tarnish Chappuy's reputation as a maker.

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That's why Chappuy was called in another thread (by Michael Appleman?) to be a "mixed back". But what makes things a bit more complicated, is what Ben described as "showing a hand that exists across a variety of different names".

I didn't realize this phenomena, although always wondering how and by which features violins of some schools (also from the Kloz school, for instance) could be ascribed to different makers, untill Ben gave it this name here.

 

Not long ago I saw a very similar violin to the one I posted above with the inside brand "Remy". How should we describe now this "type" or "hand"? As "a late 18th/early 19th french violin, Paris or Mirecourt, made for/sold by/branded with Chappuy/Remy, medium/simple grade"? Or "type of late Chappuy/early Remy"?

I don't mean this really serious, but in a way it's a problem.

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... it is really difficult!

 

Fortunately there are specialists in these matters - a Rampal certificate solves the problem of pricing, since he will also give you an estimate of its value. 

The distinctions would have to be between

1) made by NA Chappuy

2) sold/branded by NA Chappuy but bought in

3) made/sold by the Chappuy family business after his death and

4) made by someone else and passed off as a Chappuy.

 

The Rémys are a slightly different kettle of fish since they were a huge Mirecourt dynasty that spanned several generations, all using the same Remy brand. I think even Rampal would despair of identifying particular family members, though I may be wrong. It's very possible that the Mirecourt violins sold by Chappuy were made by a Rémy ... Chappuy trained in Mirecourt and was a contemporary of Mathurin Francois Rémy - maybe they were pals.

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There was a lovely instance in December at the Bromptons' sale, where there were I think three Perry violins made in Dublin, each of which was legitimately branded or labeled, but every single one was by a definably separate hand. Added to that I had one of my own in a violin case right at the same moment which was - guess what - different again! 

 

Whether we are talking about France, England or Ireland, I generally feel that there is a totally honest and straightforward approach of attributing something as what it says on it, so long as the stamp (or label or both) is substantiated as correct for the time that it was sold. Most of the time we will never know who the actual maker is, and so long as things are nuanced correctly, that's absolutely fine. 

 

Obviously there are some times when a superior and identifiable maker appears - and in English instruments there may be a signature inside. I would certainly sell a Perry as a Richard Tobin or a Vincenzo Panormo if such a thing ever appeared. Nathaniel Cross assisted Richard Duke in his extremely early period - I have even seen fully signed and labelled late Nathaniel Cross violins with genuine Duke Stamps on the back. 

 

Sometimes there can be problems or paradoxes: I once had involvement with a cello that was quite clearly Betts School - and there was a neat dent in the back exactly where the Betts stamp had been scraped off. In this case, I knew exactly who the real maker of the cello was - one of Betts' more talented assistants. The problem was that every orchestral musician in London seems to want a Betts cello, or a Betts-school cello. No one wants a Thomas Powell, because they haven't heard of him. So even though this was one of the spectacular flat arched forma-B Stradivari model cellos that Powell seems to have made a specialism of making - and one of the very best of anything that was ever sold by Betts, the consensus to which I was a part agreed it was better in the end to call it Betts-School, which it quite certainly also was, in order to find it a happy home for an honest price in good time. 

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  • 3 months later...

and finally I decide to open the Medard violin.
Inside the top plate there was a cruel war... it is like a combat field.
It has 3 inscriptions inside.
All are illegible to me but I read a date: 1825 I think of a reparation work.
Could some one say me anything about the inscription or the inside work?
It give us more info about the maker or the date?

 

thank you very much.

 

post-77467-0-63378500-1432383274_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-71803000-1432379790_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-37584000-1432379803_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-15136000-1432379816_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-70724600-1432379829_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-00796100-1432379842_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-10177800-1432379855_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-41851900-1432379867_thumb.jpgpost-77467-0-94248300-1432379880_thumb.jpg

 

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