Help with violin identification


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Hi guys! This is my first post here. I appologize for the fact that my fist post is a question for help; but hopefully I get to contribute with other posts as well later on.

First of all I just want to express my excitement over finding this forum! I have already browsed thru different posts; a lot of interesting things to find! Yeey! :)

Since this is my first post, I also write a bit about my self. I am from Norway, 31years old, and I would categorize my self as a hobby-luthier. I played the violin for about 8 years as a child but stopped at the age of 14. Since then I played some guitar, some piano, some double bass, I sing and I occationally also pick up the violin again. (yes I regret quitting at age 14...) I have previosly build a kit violin, I have restored/repaired several violins - and I am working on (and will be working for quite some time) on my first 100% from scratch violin.

Now, to the point. If anyone can help me with some information about age and origin of this beauty I would be very greatful. I recently bought this from someone who had inherited it, and it has been stored completely wrong. Pretty much all joints were un-glued, and it had several cracks.Bottom cornerblock was at one point glued with some PVA-shit. I have now carefully dis-assemled it, glued all the cracks and put it back together using EPOXY. This thing will NEVER get undone again! (haha, just kidding! Before you completely get a heart attack, I ofcourse used the real deal - hide) :-)

It plays really well, and I am happy with it.

It has a repair-label inside from Gunnar Røstad in 1914. He is considered one of the best Norwegian luthier in the 1900s. Some of the work he has done around the sound holes is really accurate work; I did not even notice before I popped the top off. It also has a nicely done neck-graft. Anywhere, my trail stops in 1914.

I find no other markings/labels inside - but some on the outside. The scroll has AF carved into it, but that does seem (to me) to be added later on. On the back it has a red P (?) and a signature I cant decipher on the right side.

Pictures:

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And the final result:

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Edited by Stavanger
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Not qualified to comment on provenance, but...

Are you sure it is a "P"? Appears that it might be damage from a less than appropriate repair to fix a loose neck... and the neck is not aligned with the button.

in the third pic the back seems to be asymmetric especially on the lower bass bout... or is that just the  angle of the photo?

Cheers... Mat

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Curious fiddle. I'm not seeing all of the photos for some reason, and the ones I see aren't straight on, so I'm not getting a clear look at the outline. From what I do see, I see a slightly "squarish" outline that makes me want to say Klingenthal or Markneukirchen 19thc., and like Addie mentioned just above, that would suggest the corner blocks and linings were added later, perhaps by Mr. Rostad. There's also something Mirecourt-ish about the edge work, pinning and varnish, but I'm not seeing any scroll photos, and that would help.

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Hi again everyone, and thank you so much for all the answers! 

 

Well observedabout the back; Yes it is a highly asymetrical back! I attach some more pictures where you can see this more clearly.
I also add some scroll-pictures, and a close-up of the P and signature on back. It is definately a P (or something) rather than just a poor repair. You are right thou that the neck is not alligned with the button. I'll get to that later on. What do you mean with "wide set eyes, Fiddlesurgeon? Havent heard that term before.. :)

As I were not able to attach photos, I uploaded them to TinyPic and inserted the image-link here.

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Clearly a late 19th century Vogtland (what includes Saxony, Schönbach etc.). "Proper" corner blocks aren't unusual in this period, although it's built on the back as easily to recognize at the clamped rib joints.

Because the scroll is grafted (not very neatly), it could be from elsewhere, so it's not very significant to see it for a judgement about the origin.

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...  

 

Have you posted here before?  I'm curious about how you were able to post pictures if this is

your first time posting.

...you can copy from a photo hosting site such as Photobucket...or as in this case, Tinypic I believe (which is still Photobucket)...

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...you can copy from a photo hosting site such as Photobucket...or as in this case, Tinypic I believe (which is still Photobucket)...

Thank you.  I see a lot of newcomers who are frustrated by the no pics until hitting 10 posts rule. 

 

I didn't think there was any way around this.  Proven wrong, again. :-0

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This fiddle looks to me like one which falls somewhat outside the usual boxes, and therefore more interesting. IMHO, the blocking and lining is well done, and I like the back.  Nice fiddle.  Wonder how it will sound?   :)

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Thank you.  I see a lot of newcomers who are frustrated by the no pics until hitting 10 posts rule. 

 

I didn't think there was any way around this.  Proven wrong, again. :-0

Yes, there is an easy way around the picture ban. However, what is more frustrating is that every post has to me approved before bublished. I replied something like 8hours ago, with more pictures of the scroll etc like requested, and it is still awaiting moderator approval... I guess I just have to put up with it for now. If I am slow to respond guys, its not me - it's the system :)

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Yes, there is an easy way around the picture ban. However, what is more frustrating is that every post has to me approved before bublished. I replied something like 8hours ago, with more pictures of the scroll etc like requested, and it is still awaiting moderator approval... I guess I just have to put up with it for now. If I am slow to respond guys, its not me - it's the system :)

 

The alternative is that we risk getting bombed with spam, off topic chatter, commercial postings and smut.... I just deleted 5 such posts that were caught by the system earlier today and registered the abusing users/authors as spammers.

 

I moderate these boards on a volunteer basis (I own a shop and don't hover over the screen all hours of the day), so please be patient during the approval process.  I'm sure nothing will spoil in 8, 12 or 24 hours.  Posts don't require refrigeration.   :)

 

As long as you don't spam or piss-off the moderator; after 10 approved posts you'll be free of pre approval.  :rolleyes:

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Oh, another thing I've been thinking about regarding the asymmetrical back. Was it actually carved like this on purpose? Or by accident? Or did it deform over the years? Seems too much to be deformation...

Edited by Stavanger
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The deformation in the back is just the result of over-tight soundposts. You could probably correct it by putting the back under sandbags for about a year ...

I agree with the general consensus that this is a pretty standard Saxon violin, 2nd half of the 19th century. 

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Thank you guys for all your feedback! I am impressed and truly humbled with all the knowledgeable people on this forum!


I have sendt photos to Peter Ratcliff (which I understand is a member here aswell) for a dendrochronology dating. So hopefully we get a conclusive result from him. 

I'll let you all know when/if I get something. :-)

I have also written a request to "Norsk Folkemuseum" (Norwegian Folk museum) that has Luthier Gunnar Røstad's workshop tools in the museum. I am hoping they would have his notes as well, and since the repair label inside the violin is dated that they would actually have some notes about what work was done. Probably a long shot, but worth the attempt. :)

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So, mr. Ratcliff got conclusive results from my violin, and yes - you guys were pretty much spot on with identification. 
Here is his report, if it is of any interest:

 

 

As mentioned, the scans were absolutely fine, and I could see everything I needed to when enlarged to my requirements

 
I measured 104 rings on the bass side and 85 on treble side.
 
The results of the cross dating revealed that several hundred separate tree-ring patterns correlated with data from the two sides.  It is also clear that the two pieces, bass and treble, are from totally separate trees. 
 
The growth direction of the tree rings goes from the central joint to the outer edge on the bass side, and from the edge to the centre joint on the treble side.
 
The latest visible original ring measured on the bass side is just to the left of the purfling, as I am not 100% sure that the edge on the outside of the purfling at the widest point of the belly is original. In any case, I estimate that there are about 6 more rings after 1794, so latest estimated ring on the bass side is (or was) about 1800.
 
The latest ring on the treble side, situated alongside the centre joint, is dating from 1846, so realistically, the front of this violin wasn't made before about 1855, and likely a little later.
 
Although the two sides are unrelated, they both respond to the cross-matching tests against the same sort of reference.  These reference, both geographical and from instruments, point strongly to wood growing in Lower Saxony, but also further west in Germany, as there is a correlation with Master reference data from the area of Falkenstein.
 
The cross dating against data from instruments also suggests Bohemian origin for the wood, as many data from Bohemian, Saxon and other Germanic violins correlate with the data of your violin. 
The data from the treble side, which has the later date, also correlate with a variety of instruments made in other parts of Europe in the latter part of the 19th century, including some French, English and from other countries too.  The reason for this is that after about 1830/40, my research suggests that the area of the Erzgebirge Mountains on the borders of Lower Saxony and the Czec republic produced huge amounts of spruce timber to make instrument soundboards, and exported these throughout Europe.  I believe that by the 1850's they had developed highly efficient wood processing methods, which made their tonewood cheaper and more readily available than any other in Europe and this carried on into the 20th century.
 
From what I see of the instrument, I think it is very likely to have been made in Saxony in about 1870. (irrespective of dendro results).
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