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Hopf or Hoyer or ?


NCBOW
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I am trying to identify the maker of this violin, purchased for me by my parents in 1974. The invoice from the seller (located in Michigan) indicated it was a Carl Christian Hoyer; more recently, a local maker here in Maine was convinced it was a Hopf. My interest in one of historical curiosity - and I've been unable to sort through the information available online with any success.

Several photos are attached - including one of the initials CCH on the back and another of what appears to be a S/N (C2060) stamped into the end. There are no visible markings or labels on the interior.

Any insights would be much appreciated!

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Of course Zoebisch ascribes these initials to Carl Christian Hopf, but actual researchers don't seem to be so sure about it now. There are different models featuring the mark, and about the last violin with I had bearing this signature the buyer informed me that Ekkehart Seidl thought that it could be a Hoyer, too. Another reservation is that such handscribed letters can be easily added by any faker at any time later.

Your's seems to be related to this model https://www.ries-geigenbau.de/historische-streichinstrumente/barockviolinen/violine-c-c-hopf-klingenthal-ende-18jhd/

while Zoebisch and Seidl are picturing instruments looking a bit different. An inked purfling at a violin of this age and origin doesn't mean much, except that it was sold a bit cheaper than "real" purfled.

BTW photos of the scroll would be interesting, too.

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13 minutes ago, Rue said:

The letters don't look stamped to me either.

I'm not talking about the scratches under the initials, but the initials themselves. There is a clear indentation (e.g. in the letter H). I'm not saying that it couldn't have been scratched out, but the shape of the H is too nice (including the feets) to make that likely.

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Comparing the shaky way thge Cs are scratched it's obvious that these letters weren't imprinted with a stamp or something alike. Usually the brand has also dots between the letters (compare my link) which are missing here, so it's all very questionable.

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6 hours ago, Blank face said:

Comparing the shaky way thge Cs are scratched it's obvious that these letters weren't imprinted with a stamp or something alike. Usually the brand has also dots between the letters (compare my link) which are missing here, so it's all very questionable.

However as your previous post indicated the model seems very much to resemble Hopf and while I am not as familiar with the Hoyer family’s work the pictures I found do not have the same squared off appearance of the upper bout common to the OP’s fiddle and most of the Hopfs I have seen. The initials may be spurious although the violin has been broken,scraped. revarnished and retouched to the point that the letters may have been altered but regardless of the originality of the letters the Hopf family surely get the blame for this one.

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1 hour ago, nathan slobodkin said:

However as your previous post indicated the model seems very much to resemble Hopf and while I am not as familiar with the Hoyer family’s work the pictures I found do not have the same squared off appearance of the upper bout common to the OP’s fiddle and most of the Hopfs I have seen. The initials may be spurious although the violin has been broken,scraped. revarnished and retouched to the point that the letters may have been altered but regardless of the originality of the letters the Hopf family surely get the blame for this one.

If you were to ever visit the museum in Markneukirchen (recommended) you will see that real Hopf’s don’t necessarily have the “square” outline look you speak of, rather those seem to be the Dutzendarbeit “Hopf’s of the late 19th C cottage industry

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1 hour ago, nathan slobodkin said:

However as your previous post indicated the model seems very much to resemble Hopf and while I am not as familiar with the Hoyer family’s work the pictures I found do not have the same squared off appearance of the upper bout common to the OP’s fiddle and most of the Hopfs I have seen. The initials may be spurious although the violin has been broken,scraped. revarnished and retouched to the point that the letters may have been altered but regardless of the originality of the letters the Hopf family surely get the blame for this one.

I can’t see how the violin was scraped stripped or revarnished; just the opposite it does look exactly like I would expect for such a violin.

Hoyers can come in all very different shapes, it was a large dynasty, too, and some look just like what is usually ascribed to Hopf.

Heres another example from Ries, also pictured in Seidl’s book.

https://www.ries-geigenbau.de/historische-streichinstrumente/barockbratschen/bratsche-johann-gottlieb-hoyer-quittenbach-ca1790/

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Since my interest remains in looking for, and correctly identifying, all the little clues as to possible origin...and since I still can't pull it all together...:angry:

...all I can add (that's not helpful) is that I find the overall aesthetics of these instruments not to my taste...:ph34r:

But - is the overall aesthetic a clue in itself?  Or were these instruments made everywhere by everyone at some point?  Or are they very specific to time/place?

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1 hour ago, Rue said:

But - is the overall aesthetic a clue in itself?  Or were these instruments made everywhere by everyone at some point?  Or are they very specific to time/place?

As far as aesthetics can be defined, for sure they have to do with education and training. Both of them weren't to get for free at any time, and most less affordable by those makers working for an equally poor group of customers, as it was the case in regions like Saxony, Bohemia, Salzkammergut and comparable places. These were made by poor craftspersons for poor musicians.

Comparing them with the aesthetical appearance of, let's say, "school of Milan/Testore" in the late 18th or 19th century "Central Italy/Marchi e Abruzzi", which served a similar group of buyers, one could come to the conclusion that the differences in regard of aesthetics aren't that significant, but the actual prices are.

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11 minutes ago, Blank face said:

differences in regard of aesthetics aren't that significant

I totally agree. Some 19th century Italian violins cannot be described as anything other than "ugly" compared to classic Cremonese designs. By contrast, Hopf violins in the pre-cottage industry period retain their idiosyncratic but fairly balanced aesthetic. Some may not like it, I like it.

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38 minutes ago, Blank face said:

As far as aesthetics can be defined, for sure they have to do with education and training. Both of them weren't to get for free at any time, and most less affordable by those makers working for an equally poor group of customers, as it was the case in regions like Saxony, Bohemia, Salzkammergut and comparable places. These were made by poor craftspersons for poor musicians.

Comparing them with the aesthetical appearance of, let's say, "school of Milan/Testore" in the late 18th or 19th century "Central Italy/Marchi e Abruzzi", which served a similar group of buyers, one could come to the conclusion that the differences in regard of aesthetics aren't that significant, but the actual prices are.

Thanks!

I knew it was unlikely to be that easy! I was just hoping!

Back to looking for other clues! :P

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3 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you were to ever visit the museum in Markneukirchen (recommended) you will see that real Hopf’s don’t necessarily have the “square” outline look you speak of, rather those seem to be the Dutzendarbeit “Hopf’s of the late 19th C cottage industry

I was fortunate enough to see one last week undergoing a restoration,  It certainly wasn't squared off or more coarsely made like Dutzenarbeit violins.  I finally got an in person tutorial from a decent restorer, and while they all are not as direct as Jacob, I appreciated his time to explain things.  

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4 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you were to ever visit the museum in Markneukirchen (recommended) you will see that real Hopf’s don’t necessarily have the “square” outline look you speak of, rather those seem to be the Dutzendarbeit “Hopf’s of the late 19th C cottage industry

Jacob, I am aware that some of the Hopfs do not have the squared off upper bout. My question would be are there other families or makers who did make instruments with that type of shape. I am the "local violin maker" who saw the violin last week and while it looked to have once been a nice late 18th century Klingenthal violin it is now in need of the kind of restoration which I felt would not be economically feasible. She did want to sell it and I told her it was worth some money as is to the right buyer but that I wasn't interested.

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20 minutes ago, nathan slobodkin said:

. I am the "local violin maker" who saw the violin last week 

Well, you can bask in the fact that you’re customer enjoyed your tutorial, and didn’t find you as “Direct” as some “Jacob” bloke, whoever that is:)

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Thank you to everyone who has weighed in on the question as to the maker of the violin I have owned for nearly 50 years. In the end, it is an instrument that needs to be played - and perhaps its future owner will definitively solve the mystery!

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9 hours ago, NCBOW said:

its future owner will definitively solve the mystery!

IMO there isn't any mystery about this violin, if one gets to the point to accept that it's very often not possible to tell more than a rough origin and age of an instrument or a bow - .to say more than this means usually randomly name dropping, and some certificate writers of past and present seem to make a good living from such an illusion.

From the examples I gave it's clear that there wasn't much a difference between models used by Hopf, Hoyer or other families of the Vogtland/West Bohemia region. As was told often before, they all were close related, apprenticed each other, worked in the same shops and so on, and there was a lot of division of labour very early. Also many labels or even brands just inform about who carried to and sold the instrument at venues like Nürnberg or other bigger cities.

It's also not easy resp. not possible to give a definite date. The OP violin I would rather assume to be made in the first half of the 19th century, not before 1800.

 

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18 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

If you were to ever visit the museum in Markneukirchen (recommended) you will see that real Hopf’s don’t necessarily have the “square” outline look you speak of, rather those seem to be the Dutzendarbeit “Hopf’s of the late 19th C cottage industry

Need to modernize and have the collection available for review via online!

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