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Help identifying a cello, ? French, 20th C


Brumcello
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24 minutes ago, Brumcello said:

When I posted the comments of a luthier without his name I received sarcastic replies

This makes me really feel bad now. Probably I should take offense for such rude behaviour against a community trying to help.

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32 minutes ago, Shelbow said:

If you are looking for an insurance valuation or some kind of additional information on what it could be, then it might be worth taking a trip in to London to see one of the afformentioned auctions houses and get them to look at it in person.

Some auction houses can give you a written insurance valuation for maybe something like £150. This is not a certificate, but you can use it to make sure you get the correct insurance cover for your instrument.

Thank you. I am going to do exactly this. 

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22 minutes ago, Blank face said:

This makes me really feel bad now. Probably I should take offense for such rude behaviour against a community trying to help.

To be fair to you, Blank  face, I wasn't referring to you when I mentioned sarcastic comments.  Your comments were actually appreciated. I cant say the same about every comment on this thread

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To bring it into context, coming here as a new poster to ask about an instrument some comments might sound sarcastic (though I really can't see any within this thread, at least not before it heated up). Daily life here is that many new posters are coming here to present and ask about instruments they bought somewhere, usually auctions or Ebay, and very often they are from the same or a similar type. The comments which are sounding sarcastic are often just referring to other recent discussions, like here to another thread about a cello dealer/"collector". Therefore no hasty offense should be taken. Furthermore buying from Ebay isn't recommended usually here, but I'm pretty sure that most of the members are doing it nonetheless from time to time. I admit (full of remorse, or even not) that I'm doing it, too.

All comments here, also online estimations from auction houses, are nothing than opinions, some more, others less informed, based on personal experience and should be taken as this. Also auction houses often change their opinions and estimations after having seen an instrument in person.

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1 minute ago, Blank face said:

All comments here, also online estimations from auction houses, are nothing than opinions, some more, others less informed, based on personal experience and should be taken as this. Also auction houses often change their opinions and estimations after having seen an instrument in person.

This is an important point. I was rather surprised about the categorical nature of some of the comments, especially as the auction house where I purchased it had it in its fine instrument sale, not its low value sale. I have now received several opinions, two here saying it is a modern fake, a luthier who has handled the instrument and said it looks French and 2 other auction houses, one of who thinks it looks French and another who would not say where they thought it was made but suggested I paid a fair price for the instrument. I have now heard from J & A Beares who have suggested I take the instrument to one of their recommended experts in France. I think if it was an obvious low cost Chinese fake one of these people might have suggested it. Or maybe I am being naive.

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Leaving your cello entirely to one side, also leaving the forum to one side, the job of appraising violins can be delicate. This is because many an unknown individual, on presenting his/her instrument for an opinion in ones shop, feels personally insulted, should one be obliged to determine that his/her instrument is junk. Should one attempt to be diplomatic about it, the said stranger goes away not having got the message. In a way, one is damned if one does, and damned if one doesn’t

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If you were looking for a good playing and sounding instrument at a decent price, then it seems you have succeeded. If you're more interested in speculating on getting a valuable French cello for less than its worth, then maybe you did not succeed. Don't really know which case it is, or a little of both. Buying valuable instruments for much less than they're worth is better left to experts, as amateurs are usually dammed to fail at this, with the occasional lucky exception.

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16 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

many an unknown individual, on presenting his/her instrument for an opinion in ones shop, feels personally insulted, should one be obliged to determine that his/her instrument is junk. 

I am aware of this. But the disparity of opinions, I confess, has made me very curious. What started as a relatively inexpensive cello to use as a spare while my main one is having work done on it, has now become an area of fascination. I will not feel bad if it turns out to be a Romanian or Chinese factory instrument but I definitely want to find out more about it.

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4 minutes ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

If you were looking for a good playing and sounding instrument at a decent price, then it seems you have succeeded. If you're more interested in speculating on getting a valuable French cello for less than its worth, then maybe you did not succeed. 

Buying and selling musical instruments to make a profit does not interest me at all. It is important to me to know as much as possible about the instruments I own. 

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9 hours ago, Blank face said:

By offering ideas about how to improve the Forum's behaviour and it's moderation one should consider that pointing out others with one finger means pointing with three backwards to oneself. Also a meditation about all possible meanings of "making others feel bad" would be highly recommended.

Good point. 

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16 hours ago, Televet said:

...and that is why we are honored to have Jeffrey as our moderator.  A light touch and  a degree of self policing make this a pretty decent place to dwell. I would rather put up with the odd expletive lobbed in my direction, rather than have a moderator who marches round in digital Jackboots.  

True.

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  • 1 month later...

Bumping this up as the cello has now been looked at by Florian Leonhard in London. His opinion is that the cello is definitely not new and probably French, 1930 to 1950. 

Definitely been revarnished, possibly because the original varnish was damaged. Edges have been repaired. 

Pins- although rare, they are found on Mirecourt instruments that were "copies" of Italian instruments. 

Mould - he felt it was probably made using an outside mould.

As a final point, this post is not to make a point or imply anything negative about previous comments. It is written in the spirit of sharing information.

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This highlights problems which can arise, when using only photos vs having an instrument in hand.

Did Florian make any comments on the brand, or about the scroll, which you mentioned previously may not be original?

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3 minutes ago, Dave Slight said:

This highlights problems which can arise, when using only photos vs having an instrument in hand.

Did Florian make any comments on the brand, or about the scroll, which you mentioned previously may not be original?

He thought the brand was original but wouldn't say whether he thought it was a Mangenot. He suggested that it might have been made  later than 1920 which is consistent with Roland Terriers view (based on photographs) this it is possibly a Laberte Humbert. As has been said LH purchased the right to use the Mangenot name.

 

As for the scroll he thought it was original which contradicts the original Auction house description but fits with the rest of the cello being revarnished hence the different appearance of the scroll varnish.

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11 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

How much time did he have to look at it, or did you just quickly hold it under his nose?

He had it in his workshop for about 40 mins. 

By the way Jacob, did you know Marc Soubeyran when you were an apprentice in Switzerland?

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Thanks for following up here.

It seems that what Florian has told you could be summarised thus ...

The brand most likely belongs to the cello.

The cello is most likely a later Laberte.

The cello was revarnished and restored.

I don't think he said the pins were original? Yes we see Mirecourt instruments with pins, but not Mangenot/Laberte instruments in my experience.

 

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1 minute ago, martin swan said:

 

I don't think he said the pins were original?

 

Sorry Martin, I didnt clarify, yes, he thought the pins were original. He pointed out (as I had already discovered) that the pins were not functional.  Just put there because the copied instrument had them.

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22 hours ago, Brumcello said:

Pins- although rare, they are found on Mirecourt instruments that were "copies" of Italian instruments. 

Mould - he felt it was probably made using an outside mould.

 Did he also comment on the assymetrical corner blocks with inserted linings, which usually aren't consistent with an outside mould? A bit more complicated than to insert some cosmetical pins. The Vuillaume shop did this with a special construction in the mid 19th century, but it would be quite interesting to learn that this was still used 100 years later in a Mirecourt trade shop.

If there are repairs covered with the assumed later varnish it would be interesting to see them, too, because they aren't visible at the former photos; there could/should be some, even very small, residues of an original varnish either there, or in scratches, endgrain areas or the like.

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1 hour ago, Blank face said:

 Did he also comment on the assymetrical corner blocks with inserted linings, which usually aren't consistent with an outside mould?

I mentioned that I had been told it was made on an inside mould. He smiled diplomatically and said "I don't agree, the corner blocks look like they have been pushed into an outside mould" he then looked down at the cello from the pegbox and said "yes, it looks like an outside mould"

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