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Austrian/ German violin? ID help please.


Fyldefiddler
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I’ve had this violin for three years now, having bought it with the neck off and looking like it hadn’t been played for an extremely long time. 
I absolutely love it and play it daily. The sound is deep and rich, very melancholic but it took time to tease out at the higher end, especially on the g string. Maybe from lack of playing, but it is great now. 
It had a fake Jacob Stainer label inside, which I have now removed. I had dendro done on the front by Peter Ratcliffe, which showed the two halves very offset in time. The bass is 1626 and the treble side 1736, but there is good correspondence between them, suggesting the wood is from the same huge tree. 
The style is highly arched, and the growth on the front, especially at the centre, is extremely fine. The school is deeply cut and the final turn comes a long way round. The bee stings in the purfling are very sharp and go right into the corners. The back is maple with pieces selected to create a lovely sunburst style effect that I’ve never seen before. Back length is 351, and the stop is 195. Hard to measure the bout width as it would get too distorted by the arching. 
The dendro cross matching with the wood said “quite Bavarian/German/Austrian with a few English “ which can leaves a lot to go at. Hence my request for help.

I’m leaning towards wondering (hoping!) it might be Leopoldo Widhalm perhaps, but would really appreciate some expert opinions, especially from Jacob please. 

I plan to keep this forever as I love it so much, and look forward to hearing your comments.

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Here is exactly what the report said. It was very brief :” the two halves are very offset in time, the bass side ending at 1626 and the treble side, whose overlapping section with the bass shows very good correspondence, ends much later at 1736. 
The cross matching response with this wood is quite Bavarian/ German/ Austrian with a few English. “

I was really confused by the time difference on the two sides  I must admit. 
 

The pictures probably don’t do it justice but there is great patina in the wood.

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Here is exactly what the report said. It was very brief :” the two halves are very offset in time, the bass side ending at 1626 and the treble side, whose overlapping section with the bass shows very good correspondence, ends much later at 1736. 
The cross matching response with this wood is quite Bavarian/ German/ Austrian with a few English. “

I was really confused by the time difference on the two sides  I must admit. 
 

The pictures probably don’t do it justice but there is great patina in the wood.

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"the two halves are very offset in time, the bass side ending at 1626 and the treble side, whose overlapping section with the bass shows very good correspondence, ends much later at 1736."

The dendro only shows that the wood in the analyzed section was growing during that period of time. It doesn't tell when the tree was cut down, or when the violin was built. If that particular tree started growing in 1550, and was cut down in 1750, it could easily span all of that. A little shift in the cut of one half to avoid a knot or defect could easily result in the age shift.

You could easily take an old beam from a mountain chalet, and make a violin from it , that would appear to be a couple hundred years old from the dendro. This is not saying that dendro is a problem, as most of the old violin makers would have just used "new", seasoned wood, but just like anything else, devious people can do devious things.

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20 hours ago, Fyldefiddler said:

the two halves are very offset in time, the bass side ending at 1626 and the treble side, whose overlapping section with the bass shows very good correspondence, ends much later at 1736. 

I guess that's very easy to understand, considering that the two halves were cut out of a very thick tree, covering growth rings of some hundred years. In each case the youngest ring would be the reference, but the date of making still can be decades later. Both Jacob and Peter might agree on this.;)

The back wood looks to me just as two halfs of slab cut (or half-slab) maple.

23 hours ago, Fyldefiddler said:

It had a fake Jacob Stainer label inside, which I have now removed.

There were many "original" Jacob Stainer prints (also Amati) in 18th century Mitenwalds - if it was one of these it's a pity to remove it. I hope you had checked if it was one of them before removing it.

IMG_2453.JPG

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21 hours ago, Fyldefiddler said:

Definitely not painted but I think it is maple rather than walnut.

I am no wood expert, and certainly not when it comes to maple, but your maple back bears a strong resemblance to walnut. Have look at this cropped photo of your violin....................

walnut.jpeg

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Thanks for the input. You’ve all got me thinking now. 
in terms of the label, it was printed, but had misspellings eg Steiner

not Stainer, and Abson not Absom. More fundamentally, I took it out because the dendro “proved” it could not be correct. I’ve still got it but felt it would be misleading to leave it there if I ever did end up selling it. Isn’t this the right thing to do?

I quite agree that the later date plus a few extra only indicates the earliest possible date of making, but the two very respected luthiers who have looked at it we’re both of the view that it was 18th century, though couldn’t put a name to it. 

I’m not a wood expert either, so perhaps should not have been so definitive in my earlier reply. The wood is very definitely not painted, but I will look try checking with an expert to confirm my sense that it is maple rather than walnut. If walnut, where, if anywhere was that used for backs? 
 

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30 minutes ago, Fyldefiddler said:

I’m not a wood expert either, so perhaps should not have been so definitive in my earlier reply. The wood is very definitely not painted, but I will look try checking with an expert to confirm my sense that it is maple rather than walnut. If walnut, where, if anywhere was that used for backs? 

I see that Blankface has suggested that it could be "slab cut" maple, which could explain the beautiful figure that looks ,like walnut.

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This sort of figure comes from the crotch of the tree, where the large branches join the trunk.
It is common in a lot of woods, but not chosen often for violins, on account of the inherent instability of the grain. As it shrinks, the back seam usually separates, which can be very difficult to glue back.
There can be a lot of distortion from the figure as it ages, even cracks occurring, where parts of the wood are virtually endgrain.

On the OP violin, you can see the grain runs at 45 degrees to the joint for a large part of the back.

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Having checked this out with a wood expert, it seems that it is indeed slab cut maple. Further research shows that a number of Amati’s instruments were made with slab cut backs, and the two piece gives more stability than one piece back. There is certainly no evidence on mine of shrinkage and opening of the back centre joint. 
 

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20 minutes ago, Fyldefiddler said:

Having checked this out with a wood expert, it seems that it is indeed slab cut maple. Further research shows that a number of Amati’s instruments were made with slab cut backs, and the two piece gives more stability than one piece back. There is certainly no evidence on mine of shrinkage and opening of the back centre joint. 
 

I'd disagree with some of this.
A two piece back may have more stability than a one piece back, if it is quarter sawn, and has the grain parallel to the centre joint. A slab cut back is different, because it shrinks in a different way.

There is quite clear evidence of shrinkage and opening of the back centre joint.
Someone has already had to attend to this, by attempting to reglue the joint in the lower bout and up past the soundpost position.
Thar-she-blows.jpg.7a0bc733387d4d17eaadfaf6ea17383e.jpg

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