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Mystery Viola for ID - Italian?


BassClef
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Dear respected members of the Maestronet community, and MaestroNuts alike, what have we here? This is owned by a friend of mine who is looking for more information. There are images of the label that I could add as well but I didn’t want to muddy the waters right up front. Post the label or not yet? Cheers and thanks in advance.4759A532-5DF4-47BD-B508-24B63F74DE0D.thumb.jpeg.dac1f9f70324361e5d42db4b815fe7f8.jpegEED8DC4D-88B9-4D07-8E2C-FB9422A6D53A.thumb.jpeg.c46979dcc55956b9db48ee24b094c218.jpeg46B4D030-5BA9-419D-9FDC-4ADFA269B673.thumb.jpeg.de41b4dca756da5770d32fe572366009.jpegCC3920AA-727C-4A92-9D8E-6A6401C9D767.thumb.jpeg.b13a8a56508c70373af5a71411e011cb.jpeg8C302DC8-645B-47DE-A41B-3A6E116EE24D.thumb.jpeg.75d40b44b4754af7445f7b7d013e1059.jpegFEC71AD2-02AA-4F3E-AFF7-1DBA8799CA9F.thumb.jpeg.be6db8e9438355f6696904e815ad9e9e.jpeg

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Fools rush in where angels fear to tread …

Bass Clef’s viola looks very like the examples on Cozio. But how do we know that the Cozio examples are good reference points? This is a very rare maker and very few people would have the specialist knowledge to be sure of the attribution.

However, for me Bass Clef’s viola and the one Cozio examples I looked at both shared a slightly gammy level of workmanship which I don’t associate with any commercial production. The f-holes are quite distinctive (not in a good way) and not generic or tradey. The varnish also relates well to better known makers from this region.

So for me the balance of probability would speak in favour of it being  authentic although I have never come across this maker …

 

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1 hour ago, martin swan said:

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread …

 

Wise words. Wise ones.

2 hours ago, Blank face said:

I see what you’re meaning. I have my thoughts about this, but won’t tell them here without being sure.

I use to see frequently chinese instruments with fake Italian labels inside. The OP's case seems to fit that scheme to me.

By the way. Apart from these I do remember a Prof. Jacob Saunders post about his work as a "referee" (authority?) for a court and comparison of "old typical schools" of violinmaking long time ago and a "mess" that we do have nowadays where some characteristics can be found practically ewerywhere...

Regards

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On 11/28/2022 at 5:22 PM, martin swan said:

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread …

Bass Clef’s viola looks very like the examples on Cozio. But how do we know that the Cozio examples are good reference points? This is a very rare maker and very few people would have the specialist knowledge to be sure of the attribution.

However, for me Bass Clef’s viola and the one Cozio examples I looked at both shared a slightly gammy level of workmanship which I don’t associate with any commercial production. The f-holes are quite distinctive (not in a good way) and not generic or tradey. The varnish also relates well to better known makers from this region.

So for me the balance of probability would speak in favour of it being  authentic although I have never come across this maker …

 

Thanks Martin! Who is an authority on these instruments if you wanted to push this further?

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On 11/28/2022 at 6:32 PM, ______ said:

Wise words. Wise ones.

I use to see frequently chinese instruments with fake Italian labels inside. The OP's case seems to fit that scheme to me.

By the way. Apart from these I do remember a Prof. Jacob Saunders post about his work as a "referee" (authority?) for a court and comparison of "old typical schools" of violinmaking long time ago and a "mess" that we do have nowadays where some characteristics can be found practically ewerywhere...

Regards

Are there any features that would definitely rule in or out your “Chinese copy” theory? 

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5 hours ago, BassClef said:

Are there any features that would definitely rule in or out your “Chinese copy” theory? 

1. Usually typical wood selection (siberian/chinese spruce or pine for example)

2. Usually typical edgework

3. Usually typical varnish

4. Usually typical fake Italian label, sometimes with fake (nonexistent?) luthier

5. Usually "loud but not complex" sound

Those are just to name some of characteristics.

Regards

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18 hours ago, BassClef said:

What are your thoughts? Legit? too rare to tell? Chinese copy of reference example?

I mean I have never seen an example of this makers work in person or at auction so at the moment I wouldn't be able to comment.

Comparing the pictures of your friends instrument and the reference photos on Tarisio, I would think that these instruments came from the same workshop/hand. Where geographically it was made I am not sure. It would be interesting to see the inside work and also find out if anyone else knows of this maker.

Has it been inspected inside for any stamps, inscriptions or signatures etc?

I agree with Martin though that the varnish looks similar to other Italian instruments of that period (from what I have observed at auctions).

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1 hour ago, HoGo said:

How can you tell apart the spruce species? I don't know anyone who can tell exact species of spruce from wood (except Sitka).

 

9 minutes ago, ______ said:

I keep looking at them constantly. Again and again.

And again.

:wacko::blink:

I agree, saying a violin must be Italian (or Chinese) “because of the wood” is just as bogus as saying it must be Italian “because of the varnish”

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