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Stainer.


Michael.N.
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Although this isn't by Stainer -  it is an example evidently influenced by the multi-stave viols that he made. 

 

http://www.orpheon.org/OldSite/Seiten/Instruments/vdg/vdgb_anonGerman.htm

 

There are 16th century English versions of these, and of course, even French paradessus from the 18th century by Guersan. That's not to say I'm right, its just my interpretation. 

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The dark Stainer varnish is so fragile that it is often washed off completely revealing a rather wonderful  near Cremonese golden brown beneath. I think as a result I would want to see very hard proof of the idea he played around with varnishes the way you think you've read. I have a Wildhalm on the bench right now, which has an appearance that may cause someone to draw that conclusion - having a similar varnish problem, but there is enough original varnish in the right places (and enough other instruments in the world) to dispense with any possibility of that idea. 

 

There are makers who certainly did treat the fronts separately from the rest of the instrument. A great example would be Jack Lott, in his antiquing style but that's a totally different story! 

 

If I'm talking rubbish, Jacob will tell you soon enough! :)

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Oh gosh, Conor! Those comparisons of today's money were put in by the meddling $%^&£@& at the Strad... I argued in vain to rip them out and keep to what I wrote, but they knew better.. something about how the readership would understand better... but their assumptions of inflation based on something dafter than wikipedia seemed to make more sense to them... 

 

... I republished the original unedited article here. https://hebbertsviolins.wordpress.com/2015/06/09/record-prices-of-the-past/

 

Oh, and £40 seems to be the price for a good antique - its the price-range that John Bannister submitted in receipts for a Cremona fiddle on his return from studying with Lully in France... £8-12 seems to be the going rate for a Theorbo, a Cremona violin or an English viol for court use. At the same time, £3 or £4 for instruments for the children of the chapel Royal, and for middle class musically ambitious people like Samuel Pepys, although he was very proud in 1662 when his theorbo-lute was fixed and Mr Hill the instrument maker told him it was well worth £10. 

I'll get my coat!

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I don't remember where I read this, and it could be totally incorrect, is that Stainer sometimes varnished the tops a different color than the backs and ribs. I've never noted evidence for this in the instruments I've seen, but its been a while since I had a close look, of course  tops often look a little different anyway.

There is a relatively rare, but never the less consistent 18th.C. tradition of top quality violins from the region here, that have a different (lighter) coloured belly upon a darker Back/ribs. I can't think of such a Stainer (17th.C.!) instrument, but that, of course needn’t mean that there isn't one. There was no shortage of good makers from here that glued Stainer labels into their work, so one might well imagine how any such confusion might have occurred, although I am unaware of such an example.

A few examples:

My Johannes Ott Füssen violin, which I illustrated here

http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/330865-early-füssen-makers-johannes-ott/?p=637270

has a dark back & ribs, that Americans would wrongly call “Black” (lost cause!) , but a yellow belly with a varnish one might expect to see from one of the early Viennese makers, like Posch or D.A. Stadlmann. I well remember a Wild from Brunn that had a similar varnishing scheme, also a Bartl from Vienna. In the Magazzin of the Augustiner monastery in Herzogenburg, there is a wonderful J. G. Thir cello, gracefully decaying away, with his best red varnish on back and ribs, but with a yellow (Posch like) belly. About 20 years ago, I forced (as he puts it) a Romanian violinist from the Bruckner Orchestra in Linz to buy a Johann Georg Thir violin from 1759 where the back and ribs are the typical dark “Viennese” varnish, but the belly is red. Stephan always seemed a little out of place in an orchestra, since he is first and foremost a formidable player of Romanian folk music, with a super-human repertoire, although he plays other stuff like this too (on his Thir)

It is very kind of Ben (#204) to invite me to say he is talking rubbish, so perhaps I should return the compliment, and just bite my lip this once :D

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I see countless examples of makers copying Strad, Guarneri and occasionally Amatis.

So where are the Stainer copyists, do they even exist? ! ! I'm referring to modern makers, working today.

They obviously aren't in the vision of the modern player but what of the baroque specialists. Wasn't it Vivaldi, Bach or Mozart senior who used a Stainer - maybe all of them?

 

Has a selection of photos of Stainer violins:

http://rperras.tripod.com/index.htm

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Has a selection of photos of Stainer violins:

http://rperras.tripod.com/index.htm

 

pjham,

 

Thanks for posting that. 

 

The  "Text on Jacobus Stainer" is interesting.  However, the Goethe admonition from Faust , "Denn was man schwarz auf weiss besitzt, kann man getrost nach Hause tragen," may apply here, if taken in its ironic sense. (Literally: For, whatever you have, black on white, (ie, ink on paper), that you can, with assurance, take home with you.  That is a figurative way of saying: Well, if it appears in print, it must be true.  And its ironic meaning is, of course: Just because it appears in print doesn't make it true.)  Thus, one might be skeptical of that article, with no cited author and not enough cited sources and multiple typos.

 

Anyway, the statement in that "Text on Jacobus Stainer" that Stainer was the appointed violin maker for Archduke Leopold and later became "Maker to the Emperor" for a time fits with what I once thought was true, but couldn't find support for in the KHM 2003 Stainer exhibition catalog.  Maybe it's worth checking that catalog again.

 

Concerning the photos:  Outside of the lion's head, they are evidence for me, with my non-expert eye, of Jacob Saunders' assertion that it's not always easy to distinguish between Stainers and Amatis.  For me the photos of complete violins do, in outline, look like Amatis, the lions head one excepted, and that's just because of the head.

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My thanks to everyone for their contributions to this discussion. This thread is an excellent resource regarding the context of Stainer's life and work. I've been trying to do my homework, and I thought a portion of the article A Short Chronology of Violin-making in Bohemia and Saxony © 2012 William McKee Wisehart shared by Mr. Saunders here ( http://www.maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/327600-thoughts-on-this-violin-sch%C3%B6nbach-or/#entry570674 ) dovetails nicely with this thread. It reads: 

"1800 onwards: The Construction of Violins Evolves

Violin-making in the Musikwinkel was often characterized by free-form construction of the ribs (no inside or outside mould) and a one-piece neck-and-upper-block. Although the high arches often used have been attributed to Jacob Stainer and the Tirolean style of violins, the latest research is beginning to indicate that the Musikwinkel area had developed its own style of violin making during the 17th and 18th centuries, a style which was even distinct from the rest of Saxony. It was a significant contribution to violin making as practiced north of the Alps. Beginning in the 19th century, Italian stylistic influence became much more evident, as shown in the work of, for example, Johann Georg Schönfelder II (1750-1824) and Johann Gottlob Ficker I (1744-1832). However, it should be observed that the numerous makers in the Musikwinkel had many different styles, so it is difficult to generalize, especially since as time went on, they were often producing instruments sold by, and under the names of, the violin makers in the large cities in the rest of Saxony and Germany."

So, in this portion of the paper, the only definitive statement provided is that J.G.S. II and J.G.F. I were both influenced by Italian makers. Perhaps the lack of certainty in the statement regarding the influence Stainer's work might, or might not have had over the instrument makers of the Musikwinkel area, or indeed, the author's supposition that the area's various styles might prohibit any generalization of that kind at all, might both serve as clues as to just how difficult the nature of this problem is as the evidence stands today.

Thanks again,
Joel
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So, in this portion of the paper, the only definitive statement provided is that J.G.S. II and J.G.F. I were both influenced by Italian makers. Perhaps the lack of certainty in the statement regarding the influence Stainer's work might, or might not have had over the instrument makers of the Musikwinkel area, or indeed, the author's supposition that the area's various styles might prohibit any generalization of that kind at all, might both serve as clues as to just how difficult the nature of this problem is as the evidence stands today.

Thanks again,

Joel

Although I very much regret being the resident wet blanket on these Forums (fori in Ireland :)), I would point out that expressions like “were both influenced by Italian makers“ are every bit as meaningless as “attributed to and possibly by” in a Tbay catalogue. In actual fact, there is nothing concrete to substantiate this assertion, nor any reason to believe it.

Several of the old Saxon makers inserted labels with bogus places of origin in their instruments. Ficker (Johann Christian) as one example, signed his instruments ”fecit Cremona” others Rome etc. I can even remember having a Schetelig signed from Innsbruck, although Mr. Schetelig quite surely never got much south of Schönbach. If you study the older literature, i.e. pre-Lütgendorff, such as Otto and others (from memory, I'm afraid, because I couldn't find my copy of Otto this morning), you will (comically) find Ficker (for instance) listed as a Cremonese maker, based on nothing other than the bogus place of origin advertised on his label.. This lore still seems to live on, nearly 2 centuries later. Old myths are evidently as difficult to kill off as the Loch Ness monster. The “violin literature” is frankly often almost useless, and I can only recommend Ski's Goethe “Faust” quote (#210) which is to be understood as biting sarcasm.

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Although I very much regret being the resident wet blanket on these Forums (fori in Ireland :)), 

Not wishing to be a wet blanket myself, but I think you'll find it's fora.

 

It's so important to get these things right. In two or three hundred years time, when the linguistic researchers peruse the ancient files of knowledge, looking for the very most reliable sources, they will surely happen upon yourself.

 

Left uncorrected, there is a strong risk that wrong conclusions may be reached. For example,

 

A.  The Irish couldn't spell.

 

B.  The Irish had their own form of Latin.

 

C. The English couldn't spell. 

 

D. The English got a bit odd when they went to live in Austria.

 

E. Jacob wasn't that reliable after all, and should be taken with a pinch of salt at the best of times, and most fiddles were just German after all.

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  • 1 year later...
On 7/27/2015 at 1:22 AM, Michael.N. said:

Yes, I'm aware of all the factory fiddles stamped with the Stainer label. No, I'm not wanting one. It was just. . . . a question!

Surely there must be one single violin maker, somewhere in the entire world who is noted for his Stainer copies, no?

Sorry for having missed this thread until now.

Contemporary Chinese makers do put out a steady trickle of Stainer copies even today.  On eBay do a search on "Stainer violin", and choose hits from those located in China. 

A targeted search on AliExpress will yield hits like this one at  https://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Perfect-handcraft-4-4-violin-Stainer-model-antique-old-style-violin/822414_1804891458.html

Edited by BasqueViolinist
To add emphasis to a phrase in the quoted text
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