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Old Italian cello indentification


cellozhou
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7 hours ago, martin swan said:

That's a great article ... and a fantastically well preserved Castello.

Here's Alberto outside his shop with the viola from the article (on the right) and our viola (left)

IMG_0898.thumb.jpeg.ff6f8191058a31415996e6540ea05010.jpeg

 

The contour lines of the violas frame this man with an ultra-sexy torso outline of a disney princess. So perfect that I imagine the photographer having naughty thoughts at the time. Thank you for posting this gem.

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5 hours ago, Rue said:

...as darkness falls, opposing mobs slowly begin to congregate at opposite ends of the main drag...

...a plethora of pitchforks, torches and smartphones are boldly and brazenly displayed...

@Violadamore Refreshments, si vous plait!!! 

Yup.  Same old, same old.  popcorn.gif.fdb370769c3c698fc0db6b22c4be54ce.gif  :lol:

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5 hours ago, martin swan said:

Honestly, for me this is just a question of manners.

If Philip had said "personally I find that scroll rather ugly" I don't think I would have said anything. 

The context was one in which I had offered photos of an instrument from our own archive to address an authenticity question raised by the OP. I was slightly bruised by his dismissal of it.

For instance, knowing that Philip has shown us a photo of the scroll of his cello, I would think it a bit rude to express a negative opinion if I felt that way.

For me this has nothing to do with theories of aesthetics or the hierarchy of opinion, it's just to do with when you choose to voice a negative opinion and when you don't.

I'm sure Philip meant no offence but he left me room to take a bit ... :lol:

Moving on now 

 

 

Well, this is a different kettle of fish. I apologize sincerely for my comment, however, I wouldn’t have been the least bit offended if you had made a comment disparaging mine. I would have asked for an explanation, but never have questioned otherwise.

and FWIW, more than one knowledgeable person has complained about the varnish on my cello, and it doesn’t bother me a bit, even if it is objectively bad varnish. Say what you wish, and explain what you say. That’s what I do, and all’s well.

but again, I should have kept my counsel.

regrets.

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The experts have told us what the OP cello isn't, but have not yet suggested what it is is, so what is the OP cello?

A point I would like clarifying is why the scroll seems to have become a major factor in identifying it when scrolls are a bit like labels and are often changed?  Many times on this forum people have pointed out that there violin has a grafted scroll and have been told that it means nothing as scrolls are often changed, so what makes this cello any different? Are cello scrolls never changed?

 

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6 minutes ago, Delabo said:

The experts have told us what the OP cello isn't, but have not yet suggested what it is is, so what is the OP cello?

 

 

I pointed out at the top of the thread

 

To have a shot at the modified question (what it is), we should refer the OP to the sticky post at the top, on how to photograph for identification threads.

This is still the case

Also the question "What is it then?" is often pretty pointless, until the enquirer has got out of his head, what he thinks it should be

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35 minutes ago, Delabo said:

 

A point I would like clarifying is why the scroll seems to have become a major factor in identifying it when scrolls are a bit like labels and are often changed?  Many times on this forum people have pointed out that there violin has a grafted scroll and have been told that it means nothing as scrolls are often changed

 

I think you are conflating two things ...

When people point out that a violin has a grafted scroll, they generally mean that the original scroll has been retained but the neck stock has been changed.

Scrolls do get replaced - not that often, but often enough to be very aware of the possibility. Usually you would look at the scroll to "confirm or deny" a theory about the body, or to identify a particular maker within a family group. In the case of the OP cello, the scroll is clearly very far from what you would expect of Castello, but the f-holes, c-bout shape and varnish are already not right. So the fact that the scroll is not a Castello scroll is interesting but not conclusive.

 

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49 minutes ago, Delabo said:

The experts have told us what the OP cello isn't, but have not yet suggested what it is is, so what is the OP cello?

 

Instruments with these very open c-bouts (where the corner curves don't return) are often attributed to Genoa and the Castello school. We had this viola a while back which was made in the circle of Paolo Castello. But it's much more idiosyncratic than the OP cello, and the varnish is the clear golden Pizzurno/Castello varnish.

When I took this viola to Alberto Giordano he showed me a very interesting violin, also with open c-bouts, which was made in Genoa by a Fuessen maker called Andrea Kaestern. There seem to have been quite a few German makers in the town, but this was the only labelled instrument known for this maker.

It's possible that the OP cello has something to do with these makers, but personally I don't see any of the idiosyncracy that you would expect from mid 18th century Genoa.

genoa-viola-front.thumb.jpg.ea04e65abbeecce318d9964b645a347f.jpg

 

 

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Thanks for the explanation. I had noticed that the OPs cello has these same  open C bouts. Did your instrument have beech linings?

As regards whether the OPs cello is built around a mould or not, I found this comment from Alberto Giordano on his website  interesting......

....................................................

The rib structure

"The viola is made with an internal mould. This is not immediately evident as the ribs do not always run parallel to the edge contour. The upper and lower block slots were extremely large. Unlike the Cremonese mould that had nearly square centre block slots, this Genoese mould seems to have had slanted cut slots."

.....................................................

I must confess that I do not fully understand what he is suggesting, but it appears that he might be saying  that it is not easy to determine if a Castello instrument has been built around a mould  just by external examination only. Does this sound correct?

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45 minutes ago, martin swan said:

When I took this viola to Alberto Giordano he showed me a very interesting violin, also with open c-bouts, which was made in Genoa by a Fuessen maker called Andrea Kaestern

That's an interesting instrument. Andrea Kaestern sounds very "ungerman", so I'm supposing the original name was possibly Andreas Kästner or something similar. Of course a quick search turned out no maker nor a family of this name. Do you have more photos, scroll etc.? And was the signed violin dated?

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22 minutes ago, Blank face said:

That's an interesting instrument. Andrea Kaestern sounds very "ungerman", so I'm supposing the original name was possibly Andreas Kästner or something similar. Of course a quick search turned out no maker nor a family of this name. Do you have more photos, scroll etc.? And was the signed violin dated?

I did take photos but as it's part of an ongoing research project of Alberto's I think he would like to publish them in virgin snow as it were ...

I found the photos - got the first name wrong. The label (handwritten) reads Christofaro Kaesterne feicit Genue (sic) 1773. Clearly spelling wasn't this guy's strong suit, though his handwriting is very pretty!

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56 minutes ago, Delabo said:

Thanks for the explanation. I had noticed that the OPs cello has these same  open C bouts. Did your instrument have beech linings?

As regards whether the OPs cello is built around a mould or not, I found this comment from Alberto Giordano on his website  interesting......

....................................................

The rib structure

"The viola is made with an internal mould. This is not immediately evident as the ribs do not always run parallel to the edge contour. The upper and lower block slots were extremely large. Unlike the Cremonese mould that had nearly square centre block slots, this Genoese mould seems to have had slanted cut slots."

.....................................................

I must confess that I do not fully understand what he is suggesting, but it appears that he might be saying  that it is not easy to determine if a Castello instrument has been built around a mould  just by external examination only. Does this sound correct?

There's an article in this month's Strad about the Guadagnini "Cozio" viola which illustrates the difference between the Cremonese mold and the "italian" mold.

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49 minutes ago, martin swan said:

I did take photos but as it's part of an ongoing research project of Alberto's I think he would like to publish them in virgin snow as it were ...

I found the photos - got the first name wrong. The label (handwritten) reads Christofaro Kaesterne feicit Genue (sic) 1773. Clearly spelling wasn't this guy's strong suit, though his handwriting is very pretty!

Thanks, so I need to be patient, Kästner/Kestner/Kastner etc,. is a relative common German name. so it's quite possible that there was a maker or journeyman who wasn't documented otherwise.

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43 minutes ago, cellozhou said:

 

The Cozio listing for this cello mentions the certificates, and also that the cello was once the property of Julius Berger (though the Wurlitzer certificate is made out to a Louis Berger). All very illustrious, and Rembert Wurlitzer papers are usually very reliable, but in this case I think they may have made a mistake.

I would not buy a Castello cello without a contemporary certificate - expertise has moved on a lot, and I've seen a few old certificates for Genoese instruments (Castello, Cavaleri, Calcagni) which are clearly wrong.

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The two certificates appear to be genuine and relate to the instrument in question, but the two experts appear to disagree on the wood used for the sides and scroll. Wurlitzer thinks that both the sides and the scroll are ashwood. Francais describes the sides and scroll as beechwood. Both look beech to me.

 

castello beech sides.jpg

castello ash scroll.jpg

castello beech scroll.jpg

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