Is This A Vuillaume ?


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This violin came in today for a bridge and seam regluing.  There is what appears to be a serial number 2791 penciled on the back above the label, and an illegible year date appears to be written crosswise at the right end of the label.  Looking through the end pin hole, I do not see any brands or signatures.  Is there any chance that this is a genuine Vuillaume shop violin?  If there is, I'd like to recommend that the owner show it to someone who would know.

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  • Brad Dorsey changed the title to Is This A Vuillaume ?
19 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

Is there any chance that this is a genuine Vuillaume shop violin?

No big chance, doesn't look French to me. Rather an early 20th century Mnk/Schb, but a good one. How do the rib joints look like?

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3 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Just looking at the central spine of the scroll, I wouldn't say it is Mnk/Schb.

Strange, exactly this exaggerated spine looks for me like certain MNK scrolls from th early 20th century. The rib joints are pointing to an outside mould construction. So maybe the appearance of the varnish is an effect of the photo and it's a Mirecourt. So others like Martin might know better if the Vuillaume shop sold stuff like this.

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How do you tell outside rib and inside rib construction apart just by viewing externally ? They both have a C-bout mitre.  Are outside mold ribs likely to end up being a bit thicker looking ?

And if it was outside mold, is it possible to make it with a single bottom rib like this appears to have ? (Although there is a very faint line which might be a very carefully made join)

 

bottom rib join.v1.jpg

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24 minutes ago, Delabo said:

How do you tell outside rib and inside rib construction apart just by viewing externally ? They both have a C-bout mitre.  Are outside mold ribs likely to end up being a bit thicker looking ?

And if it was outside mold, is it possible to make it with a single bottom rib like this appears to have ? (Although there is a very faint line which might be a very carefully made join)

 

bottom rib join.v1.jpg

This looks to me like a very clear jointed lower rib. Beside that, the whole appearance is pointing towards  either Mirecourt or a Markneukirchen,so an inside mould is unlikely. In general you're right that without considering the inside work both in- and outside mould can look similar, also the French "bob with preinstalled blocks" method, but the outside mould will result in comparatively much cleaner, straighter and more precisely formed joints than the others.

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59 minutes ago, Blank face said:

This looks to me like a very clear jointed lower rib. Beside that, the whole appearance is pointing towards  either Mirecourt or a Markneukirchen,so an inside mould is unlikely. In general you're right that without considering the inside work both in- and outside mould can look similar, also the French "bob with preinstalled blocks" method, but the outside mould will result in comparatively much cleaner, straighter and more precisely formed joints than the others.

Thanks for the information, much appreciated. :)

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Thanks for the extra picture, @Brad Dorsey.

To my eye, it presents as a nice Mirecourt violin. The scroll looks typically Mircourt to me, with the exception of the un-flattened eyes. The unblackened pegbox, the deep fluting, wide chamfers, and the slight rise in the neck at the transition to the pegbox all point to Mirecourt work.

The neatly squared-off rib joins, square corners, and nicely notched button are also typical and characteristic to me. I'd be interested in reading what @martin swan thinks in regards to the age.

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14 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

The unblackened pegbox, the deep fluting, wide chamfers, and the slight rise in the neck at the transition to the pegbox all point to Mirecourt work.

The neatly squared-off rib joins, square corners, and nicely notched button are also typical and characteristic to me.

In general I agree, but it's nothing within these features which wasn't copied in Mnk/Schb, too. The way the purfling joints are going through the mid of the corners, rear pegbox and, as you mentioned, small rounded scroll eyes made me a bit reluctant to see it as clearly French. The slightly assymetrical button (maybe worn), beside the varnish,  makes it look somehow tradey.

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I have never seen the slight-elevation in the neck under the nut/fingerboard in a Mnk/Schb trade violin. While many Mirecourt violins also don't have it (or it has been planed away), its presence is a strong indicator of French work to me. In this case, the rest just added up. 

2021-02-23_07-31-47.jpg

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7 hours ago, Andreas Preuss said:

Just looking at the central spine of the scroll, I wouldn't say it is Mnk/Schb.

 

8 minutes ago, GeorgeH said:

I have never seen the slight-elevation in the neck under the nut/fingerboard in a Mnk/Schb trade violin...

 

 

These are two details that strike me as making this violin different from the usual stuff that I see.

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18 minutes ago, Brad Dorsey said:

 

 

These are two details that strike me as making this violin different from the usual stuff that I see.

Not uncommon in Mnk/Schb making of the 20th century at all. Many were specialized in applying such "French fashion" features, often even in such a rather exeggerated way.

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34 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Not uncommon in Mnk/Schb making of the 20th century at all. Many were specialized in applying such "French fashion" features, often even in such a rather exeggerated way.

Can you provide something to support this??

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

Strange, exactly this exaggerated spine looks for me like certain MNK scrolls from th early 20th century. The rib joints are pointing to an outside mould construction. So maybe the appearance of the varnish is an effect of the photo and it's a Mirecourt. So others like Martin might know better if the Vuillaume shop sold stuff like this.

Initially I thought I saw pins in the back but I think I'm imagining them or seeing some kind of spotting ...

The varnish alone would exclude Vuillaume, and I don't see this as an early C20 Mirecourt, partly because of the arching, partly because of the f-hole design and the way the purfling sits in the corners.

The scroll is very similar to a scroll on a Carl Zach violin we had - the pronounced central spine, the inking, the rather flat surfaces and the absence of any return to the thumb stop. The rest of the instrument looks like it might fit with that.

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

I have never seen the slight-elevation in the neck under the nut/fingerboard in a Mnk/Schb trade violin. While many Mirecourt violins also don't have it (or it has been planed away), its presence is a strong indicator of French work to me. In this case, the rest just added up. 

2021-02-23_07-31-47.jpg

This is no more than a stopping of the chamfer that rounds over the pegbox edges ...

We have a Carl Zach viola here with exactly the same detail if somewhat fresher!

zach.jpg.c6bf62228d948312fca8c226b28d5e83.jpg

 

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41 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Initially I thought I saw pins in the back but I think I'm imagining them or seeing some kind of spotting ...

Yes, there seems to be a half-cut pin at the purfling under the buton. Thanks for showing the Zach. There were a lot of Kuk Austro/Czech'Hungarian makers in the late 19th/early 20th century using outside moulds or bought in Mnk and Mirecourt parts, so the OP might have it's origin somewhere in this region and period.

44 minutes ago, FiddleDoug said:

Can you provide something to support this??

Actually not from my personal photos, but Martin showed the Zach as an example for the "step", and the pronounced spine is visible at the Otto Seifert in the Cozio archive https://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/browse-the-archive/makers/maker/?Maker_ID=1518

At least with Seifert we have a big chance that he used prefabricated parts, and I've seen also a lot of more tradey stuff showing this features.

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2 hours ago, martin swan said:

This is no more than a stopping of the chamfer that rounds over the pegbox edges ...

We have a Carl Zach viola here with exactly the same detail if somewhat fresher!

zach.jpg.c6bf62228d948312fca8c226b28d5e83.jpg

 

That isnt exactly a step it just appears because of the chamfer on the top edge of the pegbox.

 

 

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To confirm or to dismiss Mkn/Schb I would check a few more points.

  1. Inside Blocks and linings
  2. How is the button on the back aligned with the center line of the back?
  3. Edge thickness at corners vs the rest of the edge thickness
  4. Pins on the top
  5. Symmetry of the outline. (I draw it on a tracing paper with a cutout in the center to avod distorsions. I can post pictures of how to do later.)

 

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