Recommended Posts

I am hoping someone can help ID the origin of this violin. I am a sucker for weird and unusual violins and this one is in those categories. It has a 2-piece neck, dainty 1.5 turn scroll like a Da Salo with a long pegbox, f-holes that appear to be an interpretation of a Brescian instrument, what looks to me to be ink stained single ply purfling, exceptionally low arching on the top, 30mm ribs, neck thru construction, 357mm 14-1/8" LOB, upper is 157mm 6-1/4". lower 192mm 7-7/8", string stop 310mm, OAL 595mm  23-1/2", no corner blocks. The saddle left an unusual mark on the ribs. It looks like many of the early Saxon violins but in other ways different. It has a stamp under the button  D. Stirrat (maybe David Stirrat) but his instruments look nothing like this. Is it English?

20210219_094736.jpg

20210219_094729.jpg

20210219_094723.jpg

20210219_094829.jpg

20210219_094841.jpg

20210219_094904.jpg

20210219_094751.jpg

20210219_094800.jpg

20210219_094812.jpg

20210219_230543.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unusual.

Its stamped D.Stirrat so maybe it is one of his. Perhaps  an early experimental copy  or something ?

It has that British look about it. But what do I know. Is the neck original ? And how is it fixed ? Is it straight baroque or angled ?

Maybe send pictures to Martin Swan or Ben Hebbert.

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Three13 said:

It looks to me like a 19th century Mariani copy, although I doubt that's a particularly helpful observation.

Great observation. All the Mariani violins I have seen look different from each other. I found one Mariani with the unusual f-holes and another with the small scroll, but on a shorter pegbox. From what Jacob implied in another thread it seems any violin attributed to Mariani is somewhat suspect. I hope I did not misquote or misinterpret what Jacob meant. At first I thought this violin could be a Saxon, but the channel work at the end of each c-bout tip does not ramp up where the purfling meets until all the way into the tip. All the better Italian and French I have owned seem to be dug out more so the edge ridge remains high above the flat of the plate while the Saxon ramp up to the ridge. This one is somewhere in between. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Delabo said:

Unusual.

Its stamped D.Stirrat so maybe it is one of his.

Since the brand looks so clean & sharp, especially so for an ostensibly older instrument, I’d be inclined to ignore it for now, and look at the other factors to determine its origin.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Delabo said:

Unusual.

Its stamped D.Stirrat so maybe it is one of his. Perhaps  an early experimental copy  or something ?

It has that British look about it. But what do I know. Is the neck original ? And how is it fixed ? Is it straight baroque or angled ?

Maybe send pictures to Martin Swan or Ben Hebbert.

  I wondered the same thing. The stamp is high quality and under the varnish, The neck is not affixed with the retaining wedges found on so many Saxon boxes. The neck projection is shallower than modern, but not parallel to the body.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't see that this violin bears any relationship to a David Stirrat, and I haven't seen a brand on a Stirrat (though it's not inconceivable).

The workmanship seems very crude compared to known examples of Stirrat's work - he was by no means semi-amateur ....

Personally I don't see anything intrinsically British about it and I would suspect that the scroll design is more the result of an amateur maker copping out of the difficulty of finishing the eye of the scroll properly.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Occasionally one sees a semi amateur Scottish fiddle with Saxon characteristics, so I could imagine that it is what it is. I posted a Kiddie with several Saxon features here 

 

  Thank you Jacob, and that is a very nice violin you posted.

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I can't see that this violin bears any relationship to a David Stirrat, and I haven't seen a brand on a Stirrat (though it's not inconceivable).

The workmanship seems very crude compared to known examples of Stirrat's work - he was by no means semi-amateur ....

Personally I don't see anything intrinsically British about it and I would suspect that the scroll design is more the result of an amateur maker copping out of the difficulty of finishing the eye of the scroll properly.

 

  Hi Martin,

  I agree 100% it is not like a David Stirrat.  I looked at quite a few Stirrat and Hardie violins and found nothing similar to this one. The stamp is peculiar in that it was made for someone and wound up on this violin. The D could be another Stirrat. As a former machinist I know what process was used to make the stamp and it would be way too expensive to have been made for one application, probably several weeks pay or more. Both the English and the Germans were masters of metalworking. I could be way off, but I think it was a violin started by an accomplished maker and finished by someone else as the outline is quite symmetrical, however the f-holes are crude, the purfling crude but the purfling channel well done and exact. The channel and edgework appears to be an accomplished maker as is the head and pegbox, yet the neck, ducktail, button, etc are so crude. It will go in my collection as a Whatisit VSO.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

Think it might have been revarnished and the stamp added during that process?

Hi George, Maybe so. The stamp seems much, much newer in that it appears to be so precise and accurate. The metalworking by annealing the steel, then recessing the stamp, and hardening the stamp to get this much precision was known centuries ago, but only a handful of craftsmen would have been able to do this stamp prior to the Napoleanic Wars. Before the 1820's the stamp would have been a year's pay of a commoner for this precision. By 1850 metallurgical precision had advanced, especially with our Civil War in the 1860's. By WW1 this stamp would have been affordable to most anyone for a week or two pay. But to have a stamp made for a single violin in hopes of increasing it's value? No. It likely was a stamp used on many personal object to prove ownership. The fact that none of these experts have seen a D Stirrat stamp before indicates that it served a different purpose and was used on the violin IMHO, whatever THAT is worth :-)

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Thomas Knight said:

But to have a stamp made for a single violin in hopes of increasing it's value? No. It likely was a stamp used on many personal object to prove ownership. The fact that none of these experts have seen a D Stirrat stamp before indicates that it served a different purpose and was used on the violin IMHO, whatever THAT is worth :-)

Many people trying to pass off a violin as something else, have often never seen the real thing. In the case of a more obscure maker, those potentially buying it won’t have either.
You are assuming the brand was made 200 years ago, but I feel it’s much more recent. I can’t agree with your idea that a name stamp would cost a years pay either, these were common items, which most British craftsmen had in the 19th century to mark their own tools.

 

6 minutes ago, Thomas Knight said:

I thought that might be the case, but why would someone capable of precise purfling use a single dyed piece?

Because originally it may have only had painted or scratched purfling, and someone sought to try and “upgrade” it at a later date, but didn’t have the right materials.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

Many people trying to pass off a violin as something else, have often never seen the real thing. In the case of a more obscure maker, those potentially buying it won’t have either.
You are assuming the brand was made 200 years ago, but I feel it’s much more recent. I can’t agree with your idea that a name stamp would cost a years pay either, these were common items, which most British craftsmen had in the 19th century to mark their own tools.

 

Because originally it may have only had painted or scratched purfling, and someone sought to try and “upgrade” it at a later date, but didn’t have the right materials.

What I had meant to say was IF it was an old stamp, say prior to the US Civil War it would have been expensive. Post Civil War not so much. Look at old Italian master's stamps. Letters are crooked, pressure uneven, etc. By 1750 the German stamps were pretty accurate and by the time Napolean invaded the Lombardi region the stamps were considerably better. By 1820 or so the typemakers were very accurate and by the Civil War this stamp would have been available for a reasonable amount. But the workshop owners paid for the stamps, not the apprentices. The stamp IMHO is post WW1 because the perfect alignment, angles, spacing, and sharpness of the letters. By then the pantograph copier engravers were so accurate one was used to engrave the Lord's Prayer on the head of a pin.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It’s not always possible to relate directly costs of an item from one country to another.
Clearly, brands were commonly available to individual joiners, cabinet makers, wheelwrights etc to mark their own personal tools in Britain, and therefore not out of reach financially.

Much as they were obviously affordable for the old french bow makers too. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, martin swan said:

I can't see that this violin bears any relationship to a David Stirrat, and I haven't seen a brand on a Stirrat (though it's not inconceivable).

The workmanship seems very crude compared to known examples of Stirrat's work - he was by no means semi-amateur ....

Personally I don't see anything intrinsically British about it and I would suspect that the scroll design is more the result of an amateur maker copping out of the difficulty of finishing the eye of the scroll properly.

 

Loads of people called Saunders have made violins, and I am only related to very few of them. I could imagine that there are lots of Scotsmen called Stirrat, and Scottish dilettantei or for that matter Yorkshire dilettante seems like a fair guess, since one may rule out almost everything else

i

Link to post
Share on other sites

Is "Stirrat" a common name? I have occasionally come across violins with a one-time owner's name branded under the button.

I do suspect this violin has been revarnished, and the stamp under the button may have been added prior to that. The neck looks like it may have been varnished, too.

Does the presence of a locator pin on the top bottom block offer a clue to the origin?

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, for no other reason than it being interesting.

I found this picture of "David Rizzio" holding a violin with f-holes that strongly resemble the OPs. The painting is in Hollyroodhouse in Scotland. It at least shows that this style of f-hole was known in Scotland in the 16th century. Perhaps an amateur maker in the late 19th century saw the picture and decided to copy it as best he could ?

 

David_Rizzio.png

OP f hole.jpg

220px-David_Rizzio.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

Loads of people called Saunders have made violins, and I am only related to very few of them. I could imagine that there are lots of Scotsmen called Stirrat, and Scottish dilettantei or for that matter Yorkshire dilettante seems like a fair guess, since one may rule out almost everything else

 

There is one Stirrat listed in the Edinburgh phone directory, and 14 Saunders ...

So when you take into account the fact that Stirrat is a Scottish name and Saunders and English one, yes Stirrat's a very rare name, even for a Scotsman.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw two pinholes in the back about 30mm (1-1/4") from each end. Out of curiousity I popped the top. Tiny corner blocks. ribs cut into the neck block. Integral bassbar on the top.

27 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Ok, for no other reason than it being interesting.

I found this picture of "David Rizzio" holding a violin with f-holes that strongly resemble the OPs. The painting is in Hollyroodhouse in Scotland. It at least shows that this style of f-hole was known in Scotland in the 16th century. Perhaps an amateur maker in the late 19th century saw the picture and decided to copy it as best he could ?

 

David_Rizzio.png

OP f hole.jpg

220px-David_Rizzio.png

 Interesting. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, martin swan said:

There is one Stirrat listed in the Edinburgh phone directory, and 14 Saunders ...

So when you take into account the fact that Stirrat is a Scottish name and Saunders and English one, yes Stirrat's a very rare name, even for a Scotsman.

 

 

Yes, my ancestors come from Scotland, so it’s no surprise that it’s rotten with Saunders’s there:)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.