Is this a real Carlisle?


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https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/97517838
 

this label lacks the thumbprint and date, and a colleague who has a real one says the varnish it different. Carlisle imported a bunch of violins and only hand-made 50 or so. But another knowledgeable colleague says that some early Carlisles weren’t dated or thumbprinted. Any idea whether this is from his hand?

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2 hours ago, PhilipKT said:

https://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/97517838
 

this label lacks the thumbprint and date, and a colleague who has a real one says the varnish it different. Carlisle imported a bunch of violins and only hand-made 50 or so. But another knowledgeable colleague says that some early Carlisles weren’t dated or thumbprinted. Any idea whether this is from his hand?

He was certainly expert at glueing labels in:)

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9 minutes ago, GoPractice said:

would it be possible to put your reply in context?

 

On 2/6/2021 at 11:09 AM, PhilipKT said:

It seems that was a lucrative industry back in the day.

I took this comment to mean that Philip felt that placing fake labels was profitable "back in the day" - it seems to me that the practice is alive and well.

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1 minute ago, Three13 said:

 

I took this comment to mean that Philip felt that placing fake labels was profitable "back in the day" - it seems to me that the practice is alive and well.

I was making a joke, and suggesting, humorously and inaccurately, that the practice was no longer profitable.

It could be worse though, I remember a story about Betts Being brought, surreptitiously, a fine instrument. The person who snuck the instrument into his shop wanted him to copy it so he could return the copy to the owner and keep the original, and Betts lmade the copy but then gave the copy to the seller, who had no recourse, because he himself had swiped the instrument, ha ha

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Just now, PhilipKT said:

I was making a joke, and suggesting, humorously and inaccurately, that the practice was no longer profitable.

It could be worse though, I remember a story about Betts Being brought, surreptitiously, a fine instrument. The person who snuck the instrument into his shop wanted him to copy it so he could return the copy to the owner and keep the original, and Betts lmade the copy but then gave the copy to the seller, who had no recourse, because he himself had swiped the instrument, ha ha

His shop was also notorious for turning one fine violin into two... 

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Although I know that there are a number of composites out there that have the Betts Blush (a layer of the Betts shop's pinkish varnish), I can't recall a specific example off the top of my head.

To the best of my knowledge, this London-based creative reassembly of instruments wound up in full swing by the 1790s, when Thomas Dodd's shop was importing Italian violins that had been broken down into parts as a way to shirk customs duties. Dodd's workmen would then reassemble the parts, sometimes turning one instrument into two. Dodd employed both Bernard Simon Fendt, Sr. and John Lott, Sr. in this work, which is interesting, insofar as their respective sons would go on to become the greatest copyists (forgers?) of the mid-19th century. Betts ended up poaching Fendt in 1809, and may well have employed his sons. 

The most well-known example of this practice is probably the Vaslin Composite, a 1730-ish small Stradivari cello, which was sold by Tarisio to Vuillaume sometime before 1854. By 1859, the cello's back was widened by John Lott, Jr., who replaced the original top with one of his own. The leftover Stradivari top then got a new neck, sides and back, courtesy of Lott, who was presumably doing all of this on behalf of Vuillaume, for whom he acted as agent at the time.

A lot of people were in on the game. 

The same sort of nonsense went on in the world of coins in the mid-20th century, when one of the leading authenticators of goldrush-era private gold coins and ingots was having all sorts of forgeries and fantasies made, then passing them off as good. People can be shits. 

 

 

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On 2/12/2021 at 3:52 PM, Three13 said:

I took this comment to mean that Philip felt that placing fake labels was profitable "back in the day" - it seems to me that the practice is alive and well.

I have to apologize for my previous post as it may come across as harsh.

My curiosity abounds about the current practices of being less than honest in selling antique instruments. Working with dealers and makers has been the most reliable method in locating reliable instruments. And especially for younger students, the knowledge they acquire working with professionals hopefully helps them in the future. Pricing is another issue... but getting back to business practices. 

How long can individuals get away with selling instruments with fake labels? The argument has always been that the buyer is blinded by opportunity. The rational lot cautions those ready to buy to beware.

There is that small sliver of opportunity that even though an instrument has a fake label, that it really is a fine instrument. I have played an Oddone fake that was exquisite and the student and the teacher knew it. The workmanship was good, but the sound was powerful, clear and even for three octaves. The seller was good in informing us of the fake-ness, but because of this fact, the pricing was favorable, brands, varnish and all. It was essentially a good copy.

So for those who deal in non-genuine instruments, how profitable could it be? and how sustainable is that business model?

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On 2/12/2021 at 5:56 PM, Three13 said:

Although I know that there are a number of composites out there that have the Betts Blush (a layer of the Betts shop's pinkish varnish), I can't recall a specific example off the top of my head.

To the best of my knowledge, this London-based creative reassembly of instruments wound up in full swing by the 1790s, when Thomas Dodd's shop was importing Italian violins that had been broken down into parts as a way to shirk customs duties. Dodd's workmen would then reassemble the parts, sometimes turning one instrument into two. Dodd employed both Bernard Simon Fendt, Sr. and John Lott, Sr. in this work, which is interesting, insofar as their respective sons would go on to become the greatest copyists (forgers?) of the mid-19th century. Betts ended up poaching Fendt in 1809, and may well have employed his sons. 

The most well-known example of this practice is probably the Vaslin Composite, a 1730-ish small Stradivari cello, which was sold by Tarisio to Vuillaume sometime before 1854. By 1859, the cello's back was widened by John Lott, Jr., who replaced the original top with one of his own. The leftover Stradivari top then got a new neck, sides and back, courtesy of Lott, who was presumably doing all of this on behalf of Vuillaume, for whom he acted as agent at the time.

A lot of people were in on the game. 

The same sort of nonsense went on in the world of coins in the mid-20th century, when one of the leading authenticators of goldrush-era private gold coins and ingots was having all sorts of forgeries and fantasies made, then passing them off as good. People can be shits. 

 

 

I've seen this cello. It is interesting.

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6 hours ago, GoPractice said:

There is that small sliver of opportunity that even though an instrument has a fake label, that it really is a fine instrument. I have played an Oddone fake that was exquisite and the student and the teacher knew it. The workmanship was good, but the sound was powerful, clear and even for three octaves. The seller was good in informing us of the fake-ness, but because of this fact, the pricing was favorable, brands, varnish and all. It was essentially a good copy.

So for those who deal in non-genuine instruments, how profitable could it be? and how sustainable is that business model?

A few years ago, an instrument that was sold at auction with a fake label turned out to be a del Gesu, and I'm aware of a couple other "under-attributed" 18th century Italians that have popped up with a lesser label residing in them, but it's really the exception...

My suspicion is that the practice must be working on some level, as it's been popular for almost as long as there have been violins.

6 hours ago, duane88 said:

I've seen this cello. It is interesting.

I'd love to see it, or any of the other better Lott composites out there.

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21 hours ago, Three13 said:

 ( ... )

My suspicion is that the practice must be working on some level, as it's been popular for almost as long as there have been violins.

 ( ... )

There still needs to be expertise to make sense of the better instruments. I recently made minor adjustments to a "Heberlein" that was fantastic with the best "Germanic" pedigree. The instrument appeared in quality to be better than the label. It had not been too tampered with and now is developing solidly into a fine instrument with Thomastik PIs and an enthusiastic student.

For many of us, it's not about the label or any maker in particular, but the instrument and its ability to create music ( that is pleasant to others. ) Then there are others of us that need papers for the value.

Currently, with all the modern resources available to us, we are able to choose between copies, replicas, inspired by and bench copies.

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At some point someone buying a fine instrument has to trust someone involved, either the seller, dealer, or maker.  There are so many stories of faked instruments that fool even so-called experts, the "Balfour" strad for example.  One would think that buying from a living maker would be reliable as regards authenticity but it seems that an unscrupulous maker could import a white instrument and "finish" it and sell it as completely his own work and for his much higher price.  There are so many pitfalls.  If I were buying an instrument I would put most importance on how it plays and sounds.  It would be nice if, when I can no longer play the instrument, it could be sold for a good price but the market is so changeable due, for example, to flooding by Chinese instruments, I could not count on future prices.

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1 hour ago, gowan said:

One would think that buying from a living maker would be reliable as regards authenticity but it seems that an unscrupulous maker could import a white instrument and "finish" it and sell it as completely his own work and for his much higher price.  

One of the great joys of commissioning an instrument (at least for me) was getting photos every step of the way from the builder - it was fascinating to watch, and I know with absolutely certainty who made every bit of it.

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1 hour ago, Three13 said:

One of the great joys of commissioning an instrument (at least for me) was getting photos every step of the way from the builder - it was fascinating to watch, and I know with absolutely certainty who made every bit of it.

The man who made my cello used the same tree for almost all his instruments, so the Peter Radcliffe of 200 years hence can verify the originality of my cello. So all is well.

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1 hour ago, Three13 said:

Is all ever really well?

On a brighter note, have you ever posted pictures of your Caron?

“Ha,” he said, pulling out his wallet. “Since you ask, I DO happen to have a few photos of my baby...”

“Ooops,” he gave an apologetic look. “Only three snaps in this wallet. Wait a minute and let me run get the photo album.”

48960E36-3DF2-40B5-8F13-49A2F1BDABDA.jpeg

CAFE13FB-137F-469D-B55B-B1AD58D20249.jpeg

6F27245B-48BC-477F-97C6-4593B4A43D77.jpeg

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