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English violin question


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Hi guys.

There's a violin listed in present Tarisio New York online auction:

"AN ENGLISH VIOLIN BY THOMAS SMITH, LONDON, 1778"

Since it looks strange to me - neck width at nut looks quite wide to me, purfling is a fake, as well as neck graft, head execution is rather poor - it makes me doubting if it's fully Thomas Smith violin.

What do you think?

Was it rule in that period for purfling to be fake?

JM

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1 hour ago, Digger said:

Is the scroll somehow warped? The photo of the back of the violin makes the scroll look odd.

I was told that some makers soak their scrolls in water as they are carving them, and that this can cause this type of warp after they dry out.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm very happy with the one on Tarisio. 

Smith's violins commonly have exquisite inked purfling, which is so good that you wonder  if it would have been easier to just inlay them instead. However, there are elements of the carving of the edges that they forgo when ink purfling is applied. I also have a very fine example with purfling, and as a result it has the fine built up edges that you would expect on a genuine Stainer. 

It's evident that these must have been sold at two different qualities - fine and super fine. The varnish appears to be applied differently, so purfled ones seem thinner and more refined in the varnish but in both cases there seems to be an ingredient that oxidises, so they always end up rather muddy in colour. 

 

I would add that the button graft means that the violin has lost its pins at the top. The large one is a bit bigger than I expect, but Smith did use a pin system that resembles Cremonese on the whole. 

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