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Eloffe

f hole mystery

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I am not too familiar with the work of the Groblizcs family. But they liked to ornament their work and made many instruments which were misatributed in the past to Maggini. 

Any pictures of the head? 

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Bass violin is a rather non-specific word used for mainly 8-foot register instruments before the term Violoncello appeared at the end of the 17th century. However, it was not uncommon even in the middle of the 18th century, depending on the language. So any instrument that nowadays called a cello was called a bass violin in earlier days. In other words, it doesn't help with the identification of the instrument. 

Btw, looking at it again, I doubt the f holes were enlarged. 

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Violino=violin, violone- big bass violin, violoncello = small bass violin. The double bass in the classical form isn't a real violone, because it is a sort of viol due to form and construction.

I would rather say, more precise,   "epigonical" to the Allemannische, because they built with grooves for the ribs and without corner blocks and linings, and a "Bourbon" lilly wasn't used. Also the ribs weren't decorated, an inlay would have weakened them probably too much. So it could have been made somewhere in the western parts of South Germany or Switzerland, even Eastern France would be possible judged by this ornament., it was all cultural close related. That's quite more odff an "informed" speculation. BTW a Hardanger fiddle isn't that far away from this tradition, they seem to have sometimes a similar internal structure with middle bottom bars etc.

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Just about all the designs painted on this instrument are cataloged very nicely in Olga Adelmann's book "Die Alemannische Schulz"  (see pics).  If you take a look at her work you will see there is no question that that's what this is.  Some the flower decorations indeed look like the lilies of the french kings.  On many of the f holes documented there the extreme top and bottom of the wings connect to the top plate (see pic). So, if your f holes looked like they were messed with, it may have been to "free" the wings.   As for the original scroll, if you could find a good American church bass, many of those have scrolls that look much like those on the Alemannische heads.

thumbnail_IMG_1841.jpg

thumbnail_IMG_1842.jpg

thumbnail_IMG_1843.jpg

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I was just in Brussels and paid a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum where there is a fascinating painted viola attributed to a member of the Medard family in Nancy, late 17thc. Although the criss-cross pattern on the ribs isn't there, the painted decorations and technique look very similar, as do the "big-hole" Amati-esque f-holes, the long rib mitres and what's apparent of the construction method. From what I understand, the Medards were made into giant mythical figures in the history of French violin-making, but authentic, signed/reliably labelled works are very rare and not always universally accepted as representative. Unlike many other instruments in the Brussels MIM which seel to have been down graded to "attributed to" status (like all of their Italian instruments, including the Kaiser 'cello) the Medard viola has a firm "made by" attribution, and I understand it is a reference instrument.

eMuseumPlus.jpg

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22 hours ago, Blank face said:

Violino=violin, violone- big bass violin, violoncello = small bass violin. The double bass in the classical form isn't a real violone, because it is a sort of viol due to form and construction.

  Well, actually, originally there existed the viola, which could either be da Gamba or da braccio, designating the Instrument Family. Then the word violino, small viola,  came into use for the treble member of the da braccio Family, a word which then spread across Europe. Violone was a big viola and could be da braccio (a violin Family type Instrument, often something like a large Cello and tuned a whole step lower, w hich is what we nowadays refer to a bass violin, but h istorically there was not such a rigid, strict Systematic terminology ), or da Gamba, so a modern double bass is in fact a hybrid between the Gamba Violone (construction of the belly) and da braccio Violone (played without frets, strings tuned at only one interval apart). When solo Violone Repertoire started to come up after the Invention of wound strings, the small Violone, the violoncello had to be distinguishable by name also from its big brother. Violone started to be used more exclusively for 16-foot Register, but in orchestral Music the term Violone often still refers to big and small Violones till in the late 18th century. So a violoncello is a small big viola, not a small big violin. ; )

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17 minutes ago, baroquecello said:

Well, actually, originally there existed the viola

Yup, we are sometimes too much focussed on violins:(. Who's telling in the avatar that the viola came first? Manfio?

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13 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

Although the criss-cross pattern on the ribs isn't there, the painted decorations and technique look very similar, as do the "big-hole" Amati-esque f-holes, the long rib mitres and what's apparent of the construction method. 

very helpful,thank you 

my dilemma is whether to get it restored or leave it as an interesting object 

the advice i have been given is that it is unlikely that a restorer would not take it on unless they owned it due to the open ended nature of the work

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On 3/5/2019 at 10:52 AM, Michael Appleman said:

I was just in Brussels and paid a visit to the Musical Instrument Museum where there is a fascinating painted viola attributed to a member of the Medard family in Nancy, late 17thc. Although the criss-cross pattern on the ribs isn't there, the painted decorations and technique look very similar, as do the "big-hole" Amati-esque f-holes, the long rib mitres and what's apparent of the construction method. From what I understand, the Medards were made into giant mythical figures in the history of French violin-making, but authentic, signed/reliably labelled works are very rare and not always universally accepted as representative. Unlike many other instruments in the Brussels MIM which seel to have been down graded to "attributed to" status (like all of their Italian instruments, including the Kaiser 'cello) the Medard viola has a firm "made by" attribution, and I understand it is a reference instrument.

eMuseumPlus.jpg

Unfortunately the small picture doesn't reveal anything in particular; do you have a direct link? (though the decorations there seem to be very different from the OP)

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BF, I'm sorry, this is the only image I could find, and it doesn't show the decoration the way it looks in person. The light gilded image is not nearly so prominent in the museum's subdued lighting, and there is a deep red and blue floral painting underneath starting from the edges and covering all of the top. That's the part of the decoration that I see in common with the OP 'cello. The strapwork on the ribs does remind of Allemanisch instruments as you pointed out, but the outline, FF's and floral painting seem to point towards France, especially Nancy (where the Medards worked) which had a strong connection both to Germany and Poland (Groblitz). 

 

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1 hour ago, Michael Appleman said:

The strapwork on the ribs does remind of Allemanisch instruments as you pointed out, but the outline, FF's and floral painting seem to point towards France, especially Nancy (where the Medards worked) which had a strong connection both to Germany and Poland (Groblitz). 

 

With a bit fantasy it works to see something;). Of course is Nancy not far away from the Black Forest/Bern/Basel region, so there might be a connection and possibly a yet unnoticed very small school producing this painted instruments somewhere in between.

Assuming a date in the first half of the 18th century (as Peter suggested) would make a direct relation to the Groblicz family makers less probable, they worked earlier in the 17th century, and more after a Brescian model: http://www.violini-cracovia.com/en/466/violin-marcin-groblicz-circa-1609/

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According to my Polish dictionary of violinmakers by Zdisław Szulc, (1953), a younger Marcin Groblicz lived at least till the middle of the 18th century and there is or was a violin with a label dated 1764 which the writer speculates may have been completed after his death. I think I have more recent references that I can look up if necessary. But the Groblicz dynasty of violinmakers seems to have been active from the 1580's to circa 1750 and most of them were named Marcin! I have seen a number of Groblicz violins and none of them were decorated beyond the carved heads and double purfling. The pictures I have in another book show instruments by Marcin Groblicz IV 1729 and V 1738 which still retain a "Brescian" look with shallow ribs, pointy soundholes and double purfling and the typical carved heads (no painted decoration). However the 1729 instrument has broadened the points of the f's while retaining the other features and shape. A late one that i remember seeing personally looked to have more normal 18th century mid-European features.

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I'm not sure how I missed this, but the majority of the decoration is very familiar to me from my knowledge of viols, though purfled, not painted on, and consistently points to England. I have not seen an English cello like this, but it is not far removed from French cellos of the period that I can think of, and perhaps with the popularity of English viols in France at the time, that is not at all surprising. It is very interesting, and if it is still around, it would be good to see more of it. Peter's dendro of around 1700 makes perfect sense to me. 

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Thanks All for the interesting thread. On the OP instrument, I am fascinated as to how similar the belly and the back layout of the decoration is/are? I understand the conservation mechanics of paintings on an instrument but would like to know if anyone has experience with ink conservation or how to handle the repairs. Thanks for the Allemannische schule and Olga Adelmann references, I do not have that book. Also, I wonder what percentage of these instruments have made it into present times with their neck, peg box, finger board geometry, length, angle, unaltered? Let alone converted, re-converted etcetera.

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