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Felefar

Joseph Meyer viola???

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Now that the little old viola is well strung and tested, it is time to try to find out what I have...

 

The label was affixed in the bottom, on top of a repairer's stamp from 1954. When I checked the inside with a boroscope, I found the place on the rib where it had originally been affixed, the rectangular glue patch was quite visible.

 

I also found an old bridge wedged into the bottom close to the bottom block, marked "H SCHICKER FREIBURG"

 

The label seems to say "Joseph Meyer zu Br...... ..... Anno 1666", which is quite a bit earlier than I am willing to believe.

 

Anyway, it sounds amazingly well with a full rich tone, so I am very happy with it.

 

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l81534label2.jpg

l81534label.jpg

l81534top.jpg

l81534head.jpg

l81534bside.jpg

l81534back.jpg

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I rather doubt that this on a quite modern looking paper /ca. 1900) written label was ever at any other place nor that it is telling something significant about the maker. It could say "Brünndobra", which is a Vogtlandish village, or something else, followed by a number like 18bbb, what could be a house number or completely nonsense.

The instrument itself looks like a former nice bohemian/saxon viola from the first half of the 19th century IMO and needs a lot of service to get the belly into an acceptable state. How long is the body?

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Body length is 38cm, and it has been repaired extensively and all cracks are glued and tight. It looks a lot worse in the pictures than in reality.

The neck has also bern replaced at some time and the head nicely grafted on.

 

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27 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

Yes looks like the remains of a decent Saxon fiddle. Could some one please remind me of which school /makers put the labels on the rib? I remember a discussion of this but not the facts.

Thanks

That was me, I'm afraid, here

 

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3 hours ago, Ron MacDonald said:

The Romberg fingerboard should be replaced.

Why? It works, and some players prefer it. Why replace a perfectly good part when there is so much else that could be repaired?

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On 5.3.2018 at 3:38 PM, Blank face said:

I rather doubt that this on a quite modern looking paper /ca. 1900) written label was ever at any other place nor that it is telling something significant about the maker. It could say "Brünndobra", which is a Vogtlandish village, or something else, followed by a number like 18bbb, what could be a house number or completely nonsense.

The instrument itself looks like a former nice bohemian/saxon viola from the first half of the 19th century IMO and needs a lot of service to get the belly into an acceptable state. How long is the body?

It isn’t «quite modern paper». It was only attached by a very thin edge and one corner, so my luthier friend pried it off to see what was beneath it (a repairer’s stamp, 1954). So I have it filed with the receipt, and can inform you that it is not paper at all but parchment.

The ink looks like it is oak gall ink from the fading pattern, and stroke weights and lack of scratches indicate that it was probably written using a feather quill - not steel nib, not brush, and not printed. I learned a lot of that sort of thing when I did calligraphy back in the last millennium...

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Sorry that I have the photo only to look at, but with the edges fraying out and the thin and wavy appearance, not at least the very bright colour, it had in my eyes nothing in common with old laid paper nor parchment I'm familiar with. The writing doesn't appear to be so fluid and easy as it is to be expected from a person used to write this way, more like someone trying to copy it. Squill wwriting, as I know it from a few dozen documents, labels etc. I could study, has typically lines ver pointed at the ends and a certain rythm of swelling and diminishing width, very different from this label. A greyish appearrance isn't necessary oak gall, could be just a coloured ink or an aquarell colour mixed with water.

Not to mention that I never found an old saxon label written an parchment, only paper, and that parchment stripes were used to cover bottom joints, sometimes cracks, only. Even solved and reglued labels never show such a deliberately looking torn edges, rounded corners etc., what's usually an evidence for a naive imitation.

All in all, IMO it looks as if somebody had tried to copy an old label writing from elsewhere - if it's put over a 1954 repair stamp, the more recent it should be.

To compare colour, structure and writing, here are some old parchment stripes, used as crack reinforcements, and a genuine saxon label from the early 19th century, maybe you can see what I'm talking about.

parchment 18th.jpg

10.03.2011 12-13-38_0892.jpg

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7 hours ago, Blank face said:

Sorry that I have the photo only to look at, but with the edges fraying out and the thin and wavy appearance, not at least the very bright colour, it had in my eyes nothing in common with old laid paper nor parchment I'm familiar with. The writing doesn't appear to be so fluid and easy as it is to be expected from a person used to write this way, more like someone trying to copy it. Squill wwriting, as I know it from a few dozen documents, labels etc. I could study, has typically lines ver pointed at the ends and a certain rythm of swelling and diminishing width, very different from this label. A greyish appearrance isn't necessary oak gall, could be just a coloured ink or an aquarell colour mixed with water.

Not to mention that I never found an old saxon label written an parchment, only paper, and that parchment stripes were used to cover bottom joints, sometimes cracks, only. Even solved and reglued labels never show such a deliberately looking torn edges, rounded corners etc., what's usually an evidence for a naive imitation.

All in all, IMO it looks as if somebody had tried to copy an old label writing from elsewhere - if it's put over a 1954 repair stamp, the more recent it should be.

To compare colour, structure and writing, here are some old parchment stripes, used as crack reinforcements, and a genuine saxon label from the early 19th century, maybe you can see what I'm talking about.

parchment 18th.jpg

10.03.2011 12-13-38_0892.jpg

This is a good example of a formal script, carefully laid out and well executed, by someone with a lot of experience with formal script. The capital letters are all at least three separate pen strokes, most likely the pen was dipped for each stroke giving a very even weight. Also the point of the pen is flat, so that the stroke weights are only a result of the angle not the pressure on the pen.

Joseph Meyer’s signature is totally different, only one letter shows signs of re-dipping. His pen had an almost sharp point, the weight of the strokes is a result of pressure and apeed, more than angle. The capitals are telling, they are all one single line. I would think herr Meyer was used to writing, writing much and writing fast. The result is a much more cursive and flowing script than the rather stiff and formal design of the other label.

I have not done much writing on parchment, but enough to know that you can reverse the pen on perchment but not on 18th century paper. Also, I have done calligraphy based on every style from Roman Rustica to Copperplate, with every kind of pen I could think of (including feathers of goose, crow, duck and eagle - or slivers of wood at the other extreme).

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Ok, I can tell you:

Jalovec encclopedia pictures a facsimile of a label described as "hard to decipher" by a certain Joseph Meyer from an unknown tenor viola, in itself not very convincing the place can be read as Pfaffenhausen, which is located in Bavaria, or in some other ways. IMO it's obvious that someone not long ago tried to imitate this label from the book to fool anybody. Your viola isn't from Bavaria nor 16.... But if you are preferring to believe in this hilarious fake, it's ok with me.

 

meyer.JPG

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