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My Grandfather's Violin - Anton Woolf


David Stiles
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Hi,

Here are some pictures of my Grandfather's Violin.  It was passed on to my father and then to my wife.  It has been her favourite for the last 10 years.  It is particularly strong on the E string which has a very clean pure tone. This violin is the comparison benchmark for my own builds.  I would like to get an idea of it's origin and age if anyone can help.  I can't find any information about Anton Woolf which leads me to think he is not a real person.  Hopefully I am wrong about that.P9740665.thumb.JPG.d7ae72ba5c20bd1ad902928439c85cd3.JPGP9740668.thumb.JPG.f14c877b24726dd466bb8af5da70c3a7.JPGP9740667.thumb.JPG.e028561201b6fa7c97c6d55ab1996392.JPGP9740666.thumb.JPG.f01a2a85e70679309759cbdfa3791964.JPGP9740673.thumb.JPG.0d414ba7ec8220a2d4ccb89612556b32.JPGP9740677.thumb.JPG.8c560d08bda864c5f0a2bb6e417bb5cd.JPGP9740675.thumb.JPG.41f6c6d21202e3aaee0ea06fd4757942.JPG

Thanks      

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Wolff Brothers, or Gebruder Wolff (you made a spelling mistake) were importers of largely Markneukirchen area violins, although there is the very occasional French one. It will be pointless to hope anyone at the firm was called Anton, although there might have been someone, since it was a large commercial importer. You may use the search function, where you will find other threads about Gebruder Wolff, for instance https://maestronet.com/forum/index.php?/topic/340771-wolff-bros-violin-1898-information-please/

 

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Wolff is a rather common name and it may not have anything to do with the referenced commercial firm.

It is a bit of a premium model as indicated by the wood and some features like the fluted f wings. Also, the pegs could be original and are often seen on the better Saxon violins from the first quarter of the 20th century.

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  • 2 months later...

Belated thanks to everyone for their comments. 

I thought I would continue on with my Grandfather's other violin.  This instrument on was passed to my uncle who then sold it to my wife while she was still at school.  She played it for 30+ years until the other came into our possession.  This on still get played at at least one concert a year. 

If anyone would like to share insights into it's origin, I would appreciate it.

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Thanks Jacob.  yes, 19th century, I just found a pencil note inside saying Repaired by ???? 1887. 

By the way, it has scroll fluting all the way to the end of the throat.

This one is quite different to the first violin; it has a smaller scroll, extremely shallow edge scoop and no f hole wing fluting.  Very different varnish colour too.  Both violins have conventional linings & blocks. 

Just wondering what features to look for that makes both violins appear to be Markneukirchen 

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59 minutes ago, David Stiles said:

Just wondering what features to look for that makes both violins appear to be Markneukirchen 

For one thing, the rib corners are pinched and extend into the corners indicating that it was "built on the back" construction from Markneukirchen.

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Thanks George,  very interesting.  I am keen to understand this.  

I just spent a long time looking at the corners with a magnifying glass and could barely see any evidence of joins at all!  In the end I find the slightest evidence of a join in the centre of corners on both violins.  I understand this indicates 'pinched' corners. 

On the other hand, I can confirm though that the corners all overhang the ribs at least 1 where they are not worn.  More like 2-2.5mm on the first violin.  Is this consistent with BOB construction?

Other observations are that inside of plates and ribs are all very smooth and bass bars are glued.   There are beestings all round.  Second violin has a small delta, first one has no delta.  Both violin scroll fluting centres are proud. 

Hope I'm not getting too obsessed with this!  I think I better go watch Cricket.

 

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16 hours ago, David Stiles said:

On the other hand, I can confirm though that the corners all overhang the ribs at least 1 where they are not worn.  More like 2-2.5mm on the first violin.  Is this consistent with BOB construction?

Yes, the rib joins were often filed back. In the second violin, it appears from the pictures that the rib joins extended to the corners, but were filed back which squared them off. 

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7 hours ago, GeorgeH said:

Yes, the rib joins were often filed back. In the second violin, it appears from the pictures that the rib joins extended to the corners, but were filed back which squared them off. 

Good to know,  thanks for that.

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On 1/15/2022 at 12:57 PM, David Stiles said:

I just found a pencil note inside saying Repaired by ???? 1887

Any French speakers? 

I had a better look at this note and I am thinking it is french!   I can see the words; 'Repaice' - restore, 'Accipre' - Accept & 'uccrent' - success. I could have a guess but it would be good to understand what the writer really meant by this.

German violin in Australia with a French repairer's note.  I guess that it is not too unusual but it's not a valuable instrument that a dealer would bother shipping over.  I could imagine a returning soldier after WW1 bringing it back as a souvenir or gift.  I'll have to consult my family history.  Nice story if it was true.  

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