Sign in to follow this  
Rue

18th Century Violin - f holes

Recommended Posts

I thought the f holes on this instrument were short, stubby and rough compared to some of the ones we've been looking at.  I don't mind the way they look...but it's like comparing a bulldog to a greyhound.  I find both breeds appealing, but vastly different.

http://www.ebay.ca/itm/FANTASTIC-OLD-ANTIQUE-18TH-CENTURY-VIOLIN-MADE-CIRCA-1760-A-BEAUTY-/251910061351?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3aa7027d27

The ad describes them as:

 

The work is extremely fine, with a nice purfling work, delicate corners and edges, and the f holes are a pleasure to the eyes.

 

Secondly...is an unknown instrument (with a weak sound from the description) worth $12000 + USD?

 

post-48723-0-19974900-1428762586_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As something that seems to be straight out of a shop in fine retail condition, $12,000 seems fair for a good Stainer model with a few restorations, of clearly and verifiably 18th century age, although it would be a bit more saleable if they could give the buyer a bit more confidence about where it was made. Actually, it's a  very distinctive and characteristic of a maker I know well .. :)

 

Would you want to buy a violin under those conditions off eBay without trying it though? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't buy an expensive anything off eBay... ^_^

 

However, if that's a fair price for what it is...if that's what it is...then I can hang my hat off that figure.  It's just part (for me) of sorting out the hay field... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the back very much.

That f-hole is haunting me.

Very like something we have discussed or referred to here recently.

Will post again if it come to mind.

 

post-86-0-54844100-1430802914_thumb.png

post-86-0-84841000-1430802925_thumb.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After examining all the photos closely, I'm still gagging on the price.  The violin looks to me to have been "ridden hard and put up wet".  The seller makes no mention of having had a dendro done on it, and carefully omits any statement as to possible maker or geographical provenance, yet appears to insist on the 18th. Century date (even adding "circa 1760").  Why???  For a somewhat bashed about instrument of uncertain origin, the price appears quite excessive, IMHO.  What am I missing here?

 

My guess on what I'm seeing is "Something or other Bavarian, very late 18th. to early 19th. Century".

 

The violin has been relisted yet again, BTW, http://www.ebay.ca/itm/FANTASTIC-OLD-ANTIQUE-18TH-CENTURY-VIOLIN-MADE-CIRCA-1760-A-BEAUTY-/231548009996?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The seller makes no mention of having had a dendro done on it, and carefully omits any statement as to possible maker or geographical provenance, yet appears to insist on the 18th. Century date (even adding "circa 1760").  Why???

It is, as a general rule, should you have spent a lifetime with antique violins, quite unnecessary, and sometimes even unhelpful to have a “dendro done” to estimate the rough age of an instrument. Knowledge of the developments of violin styles through the ages facilitates the “dating” by comparison with an acceptable degree of accuracy.

It's a bit like tuning a violin, either you can and do, or you can't and need an electronic tuning device.

I rather find it refreshing, that someone refrains from making a statement to geographical providence, when he isn't sure, as a contrast to the usual blowhards who make unsubstantiated assertions on the subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is, as a general rule, should you have spent a lifetime with antique violins, quite unnecessary, and sometimes even unhelpful to have a “dendro done” to estimate the rough age of an instrument. Knowledge of the developments of violin styles through the ages facilitates the “dating” by comparison with an acceptable degree of accuracy.

It's a bit like tuning a violin, either you can and do, or you can't and need an electronic tuning device.

I rather find it refreshing, that someone refrains from making a statement to geographical providence, when he isn't sure, as a contrast to the usual blowhards who make unsubstantiated assertions on the subject.

 

One strike of the tuning fork... Is that considered acceptable?

 

Has tuning decent strings ever been hard? Who the hell can't tune up a violin by ear!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try tuning tight fifths by ear.  Depending on the kind of tightness, it can be very easy or very difficult.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I think if the owner is unsure about the geographical origins of this violin, a dendro would be pretty useful in this case. There's a pretty narrow range of possibilities, one of which is provincial France - I wouldn't dispute the date, and French wood in this period is very distinctive (ie. gives a clear result).

Of course they may have done a dendro and not wish to share the result!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try tuning tight fifths by ear.  Depending on the kind of tightness, it can be very easy or very difficult.

 

Imperfect perfection no matter how "well" you try and tune and regardless of how you actually try and achieve said goal more so when working with violas and cellos. Are we really going to start up another conversation about tuning methods and theories with a dash of controversial defenses/attacks against the use of electronic tuners in the middle?

 

Back on topic... Dendro analysis isn't exactly something you can get cheaply or find easily, this is an EBAY seller who would much rather (Im assuming) deal with a quick sale rather without much fuss. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is, as a general rule, should you have spent a lifetime with antique violins, quite unnecessary, and sometimes even unhelpful to have a “dendro done” to estimate the rough age of an instrument. Knowledge of the developments of violin styles through the ages facilitates the “dating” by comparison with an acceptable degree of accuracy.

It's a bit like tuning a violin, either you can and do, or you can't and need an electronic tuning device.

I rather find it refreshing, that someone refrains from making a statement to geographical providence, when he isn't sure, as a contrast to the usual blowhards who make unsubstantiated assertions on the subject.

 

Many of my clients, who have spent a lifetime with antique instruments, in fact, sometimes find it quite necessary to have a "dendro done".  The information obtained, when it works,  is not always terribly "useful", but in many instances, it is.

 

Many of these clients also  "can do it" in the same way as other people who were able to "do it" in the past, and got it wrong.  It's a process of gathering relevant information, based both on stylistic attributes, and if available, other particulars, including dendrochronology.

 

Lusitano, "Dendro analysis isn't exactly something you can get cheaply or find easily, "

Dendro analysis is not that expensive ( I don't think) with results from a conclusive analysis starting from £170GBP. 

I am not that hard to find, and nor are the few other people who have a large enough database without which wood dating is near to impossible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Back on topic... Dendro analysis isn't exactly something you can get cheaply or find easily, this is an EBAY seller who would much rather (Im assuming) deal with a quick sale rather without much fuss. 

Lusitano, I see Peter has posted, so the question about cost has been answered - dendro is not expensive.

Nor is it remotely difficult - you just need to take clear photos of the lower part of the table (without the strings & tailpiece) and send them to someone like Peter. How easy is that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, I'll make another pass at it.  If some of you feel that the price is appropriate and have a shrewd idea of what the violin actually is (as you seem to be archly hinting), let's please hear your reasons so the rest of us can learn something.  This isn't just a place to throw dung at people who pose their wares on a carpet, after all  :)  :lol:  :P .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was pretty direct - I've said that the first probability for me would be provincial France circa 1750, something like Gavinies (but that's really just because violins often turn up close to home, and the table wood and the f-hole carving seem similar).

That's hardly "archly hinting" - but of course it doesn't mean I'm right - I would do a dendro  :)  and if that says France, I would consult Rampal. 

 

I think the price is high for something of this quality that's unidentified. My guess is that Rampal (or someone else) has seen it and has failed to come up with a name, hence the rather odd pricing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course this way of listing such a high priced violin appears to be  a bit odd - a buyer should expect to hear something about my possibly failed efforts to fin out more about the origin or why I'm guessing that it's so old, shouldn't he/she?

Beside that  the original scroll is missing (which could tell us something about the both points mentioned above), I'm feeling unable to make a guess by this quality of photos - except that the ffs are looking distinctive IMO, not really stubby, and seem to have an affinty with the former discussed Gavinies, but this could be very misleading also...

 

Regarding the "scientific" methods, I'm thinking, that much of this bias (oh, there's another thread ^_^ ) against them could base on the early days, when there were of course some people thinking "now we don't need no experts anymore, we've got science" - remember the "Schweizer Expertenkammer" and how they failed with their UV light testing!

I remember also, that I heard the ignorant opinion that dendrochronologie would definitely replace the "experts by experience and knowledge".

 

We all know, that this is nonsense, but we also should know, this has nothing to do with the work of Peter Ratcliff and other responsible experts on this field. If it helps to show up, what it is not (not so old..) it's a big step forward, beside all the other relations, which can be a fascinating and helpful tool in combination with knowledge by stylistic experience.

 

That's the way I'm trying to understand it, maybe I got it not exactly right.

 

And were there not, many years ago, a lot of people spending their lifetime with dating of violins, who failed about 300 years (the difference between a Guarneri and a Hargrave)? :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People, 

 

If you take a look a little bit further at the listing, the poster is obviously an established violin shop in France that is trying to find a wider market for it's retail sales. eBay has the advantage that it allows you to market goods for sale to markets that you would not necessarily reach by just sitting in your workshop in the middle of the French countryside and doing nothing. Although they don't quite seem to have got the point across as well as they otherwise could have, I think there professionalism is transparently clear. 

 

That violin, well presented and excellently restored wouldn't be daft for $12,000 at all if you walked into a shop and asked to buy it - and it is quite clear that although they don't know what the violin is, they certainly have a deep and realistic expectation of it's quality and importance. And I'm sure a French provincial violin dealer would have a clue as to whether he has a Gavinies or not. I'm just as curious to why Martin keeps going on about it being a Gavinies as to why this is a news item at all, or why anyone should have any interest in maligning this dealer. 

 

For the record, you can see a very typical Gavinies on Martin's website, there is an identical cello for sale in Bonhams at the moment, showing how characteristic his making is, and this violin which looks absolutely nothing like it was not even made in the same country! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK tell us what it is then Ben ... you're the one who's "archly hinting".

To my mind there are only two things it might be, and you have dismissed one of them - we're already at 50/50, so the next thing I would do if it was mine do would be to phone a friend (such as Peter)! If I got a viable dendro result I would know which train to get on ....

btw I have followed "ames-anciennes" for many years, and since they still have the same photo of a rather lonely-looking guy in a workshop with a couch (they are very specific that it's a workshop), I don't believe they have a shop as such. I think it's a purely Ebay business ... though without the business contact details that would be de rigeur for a business seller.

For the record I'm not maligning them, I simply think that they haven't done enough research on the violin for it to stand up at that price as a sight-unseen internet sale - as we all know, the demonstrable due diligence required of an online blowhard is significant.

And I make no value judgment about the fact that they don't appear to have a shop that's open 9-5  ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People, 

 

If you take a look a little bit further at the listing, the poster is obviously an established violin shop in France that is trying to find a wider market for it's retail sales.

 

That's what I was trying to say "tongue in cheek", and exactly that's what makes me wonder why they are giving such an odd and unprofessional description.

Who should buy a 12 K violin, just because I'm asserting it's from 1760?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's what I was trying to say "tongue in cheek", and exactly that's what makes me wonder why they are giving such an odd and unprofessional description.

Who should buy a 12 K violin, just because I'm asserting it's from 1760?

My point exactly.  If the sellers feel that the violin is extra-special, they should be giving 12 K worth of reasons in the ad.  While some of the regular denizens here have been severely flogged for doing precisely that, this ad seems to me to have gone entirely too far in the direction of descriptive minimalism.

 

IMHO, a comparatively expensive offering like this, in a venue well known for technically adept fakery, that leaves the prospective buyer guessing over photographs, isn't radiating "Buy Me!" nearly brightly enough.  :rolleyes:  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK tell us what it is then Ben ... you're the one who's "archly hinting".

To my mind there are only two things it might be - we're already at 50/50, so the next thing to do would be to phone a friend!

btw I have followed "ames-anciennes" for many years, and since they still have the same photo of a rather lonely-looking guy in a workshop with a couch (they are very specific that it's a workshop), I don't believe they have a shop as such. I think it's a purely Ebay business ... though without the bsuiness contact details that would be de rigeur for a business seller.

For the record I'm not maligning them, I simply think that they haven't done enough research on the violin for it to stand up at that price as a sight-unseen internet sale.

 

For the record: In Germany you are obligated by law to give all the contact details as a business seller, name of the owner, address, phone etc., and as the violin now is relisted in the german EBay, you can find all the informations, when you scroll down to the end of the site:

 

http://www.ebay.de/itm/FINE-OLD-ANTIQUE-18TH-CENTURY-VIOLIN-MADE-CIRCA-1760-ALTE-GEIGE-/231039485377?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item35cb06c5c1

 

Maybe this helps?

And again, I don't believe neither in colours nor in proportions of this strange looking photos, if you can see something Duke-alike here, it could look very different "live", I'm suspecting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK got it ... business contact details are also on the UK listing.

If you buy it on Ebay UK you get a sound sample - and it's marginally cheaper, which seems entirely appropriate!

http://www.ebay.de/itm/FINE-OLD-ANTIQUE-18TH-CENTURY-VIOLIN-MADE-CIRCA-1760-ALTE-GEIGE-/231039485377

 

Ben, to my eyes the front doesn't look radically different from this one (from the same seller) by an 18th century Joseph Francois Breton ... perhaps not quite as much of a curl to the f-hole tongues, but similar wood & purfling at a brief glance.  The Breton is decidedly wonkier, I would concede.

http://www.ebay.de/itm/A-FINE-OLD-ANTIQUE-18TH-CENTURY-FRENCH-VIOLIN-BY-JOSEPH-FRANCOIS-BRETON-CA-1780-/231410589941

The back, very different of course ....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.