Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

An English violin?


Mel S.

Recommended Posts

This violin is said to be "an early English rural model early 1800's" (by an auction house unknown to me). One remarkable feature are the outer pegbox flanks that widen towards the back and make pegbox and scroll look almost like the head of a cobra. The violin has slender f-holes, a short bass bar and the linings are let into the inner c-bout blocks with a little sting. But the blocks don't fit the rib edges. The top and bottom blocks' grain orientation is "false" although I've seen this before on old English violins. The neck is set onto the one piece upper rib and secured by a huge screw. The purfling is painted on and there is a painted signature "I C . P H D" below the button. The violin has a one piece lower rib and it's fingerboard is very baroque with a height of only 3 mm near the upper nut. The saddle is let in into the top in a trapezoid way I've not seen before. 

Body length is 35,2 cm, neck length 24 cm, total length 58,5 cm. The vibrating string length will be around 31,8 cm.

Can anyone determine the age and possible origin of this violin?

wirbelkasten-vorderseite.thumb.jpg.61f8b9b18589a7c2079f53cf4e340df5.jpg   wirbelkasten-rueckseite-2.thumb.jpg.b08ea87583bbad9ea7bf44edc10fbd44.jpg   

wirbelkasten-seite.thumb.jpg.3c0f32383bfaa0ae74da5bfbc8e26550.jpg   

schnecke-rechts.thumb.jpg.a7fb00e0966222f1474209fea1879312.jpg   

kehlung-schnecke-2.thumb.jpg.5c4274e927993799d8b1fb2f78eac619.jpg   

schnecke-links-2.thumb.jpg.eb5ac6832c9cd4ff318879e138c08a7d.jpg   

griffbrett.thumb.jpg.64da398fc2067e6a0fd8136e4b5320f7.jpg   

boden-aussen.thumb.jpg.7cd8b981b95d9824b57c988041d0379f.jpg   

inschrift-boden.jpg.d65cf515dce92f9a6e2045f2e2c97b40.jpg   

decke.thumb.jpg.6b091484572d2b3beb20be0afbf78009.jpg   

decke-innen-zargenkranz.thumb.jpg.248963181b9ba2a997c17768273e2364.jpg   

halsansatz.thumb.jpg.7d8df892f9b9a93a4392050d1cfa58c2.jpg   

ecke-oben-rechts-2.thumb.jpg.eba992eded43bebea83876067e80e7eb.jpg   

ecke-unten-rechts-2.jpg.5542dab8d0df41d92333669153782c64.jpg   

seite-rechts.thumb.jpg.daa760d1102c2361fcbbdcb40563d3d4.jpg   seite-links.thumb.jpg.6bf62566d8f03b3685a5be9a3b60cd16.jpg   

deckenoeffnung-untersattel.thumb.jpg.6d2338c0bfd1c0e126b8a19c7a904853.jpg   

untersattel.jpg.d58de60c80df31c91bfadc189a1d07a4.jpg   

untersattel-2.jpg.e941f8865968c838c2491d523cf8ec81.jpg

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, jezzupe said:

Would we not expect more symmetry with an outside mold? has locating pins? looks like Oppio, in France?

As far as I can see the violin has two locating pins on the top (near top and bottom block) and maybe also had two on the back. There is a hole on the button that could be from a pin but as well a worm hole as the back has some worm damage, not near the button but on the upper treble and lower bass side. Some wood in the endblock region of the back is missing (see image 8) so maybe there was also a pin. 

The c-bout "openings" aren't equal, 7,8 cm at the bass side and 8 cm at the treble side. That's why I think the violin wasn't built with an outside mold.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

Oppio is called "Feld Ahorn" here, I believe Field Maple in English, and basically means Italian Firewood. It grows everywhere all the way up to Sweeden, and is almost a weed

Ah, Feldahorn (Acer campestre) I know, it's really almost a weed. I like the leaves and the back of my violin too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Michael Appleman said:

Scottish? Aberdeen?

Maybe. According to the previous owner it comes from an attic in Glasgow. I've read somewhere that the Scots sometimes built eccentric violins and also used nails and screws to attach the neck. So I thought it might be Scottish or English.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your replies! Can you maybe recommend a luthier in Cologne or Düsseldorf whom I could consult about the violin? I don't know if I manage to travel to Frankfurt Main to Mr. Schröder in the near future.

@Samuel Detached The violin will be restored to playing condition. I think it'll sound nice.

22 hours ago, martin swan said:

Yes for me it's one of these fiddles made by a gamekeeper who once saw a Charles Cramond!

Interesting, thank you! The back view of the pegbox looks similar to one Charles Cramond I found online. Also the varnish color is alike, and the varnish of my violin is hard and thinly applied too. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Mel S. said:

 

Interesting, thank you! The back view of the pegbox looks similar to one Charles Cramond I found online. Also the varnish color is alike, and the varnish of my violin is hard and thinly applied too. 

It isn't a Charles Cramond, but apart from the screw in the top block the other features which look vaguely similar are the heavily undercut scroll edge and the very spindly f-hole tongues

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn’t get fixed on Scotland. I remember restoring a Baldantoni in original condition, and the inside work was very similar. It isn’t a Baldantoni, but he was an autodidact (a watch maker by trade if my memory serves me right). There were autodidacts all over the place, and some were pretty good

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's right, and the maker of my violin must have seen the interior of a well made violin to get the idea of the whole construction with corner blocks and that linings could be inserted into them. Also curve and recurve of the violin are well made in my eyes as well as the scroll. The peg holes are placed too high up and this thin fingerboard can be reshaped only few times, thus showing ignorance or lack of knowledge in maintaining a violin. I imagine the maker commonly used woodworking tools but e.g. had no tools to cut purfling and channel so he just painted the purfling on and his initials. I still haven't found any information to them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

21 hours ago, Mel S. said:

That's right, and the maker of my violin must have seen the interior of a well made violin to get the idea of the whole construction with corner blocks and that linings could be inserted into them. Also curve and recurve of the violin are well made in my eyes as well as the scroll. The peg holes are placed too high up and this thin fingerboard can be reshaped only few times, thus showing ignorance or lack of knowledge in maintaining a violin. I imagine the maker commonly used woodworking tools but e.g. had no tools to cut purfling and channel so he just painted the purfling on and his initials. I still haven't found any information to them.

Whoever made this violin, clearly knew what they were doing, and have made multiple instruments. I would imagine that they were taught the interior work style by someone else, rather than peering into the bowels of some mythical violin, and having a eureka moment.

The peg holes may have been placed intentionally high, to minimise the strain on gut strings, in the hope they would break less frequently at the nut, or between the nut and peg.

You are assuming that the current condition of the fingerboard, is just how it was made. I would severely doubt that is the case, for it looks like there has been an attempt to alter it, in order to adjust the projection, at the very least.

The idea that due to a dearth of a purfling marker, they had to whip out a brush, is not realistic. Many makers used a pair of modified dividers, used to scribe two lines and then cut out the channel. There are multiple other ways, and simple tools, which could have been used for this purpose too.
When you do see painted purfling, it is often neatly done, with the lines a constant thickness, a consistent distance from each other, and neatly terminating in the corners.
This would suggest the use of a specialised tool for that purpose. At the button, where the final piece is done freehand, it always looks like it was finished off by someone suffering from hypothermia, while being tickled. This illustrates the difference between what a tool, and a freehand brush can achieve, unless in the hands of an actual artist.

While tempting to think that those initials must be the maker, it's also a place where a previous owner might have marked their property. The ink does look a similar colour to that of the purfling, so you could be right.
It appears to read "IC.PH.D.That could be makers/owners initials, followed by a town, and then a county. It could also mean lots of other things too...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for your thoughts @Wood Butcher! I'm wondering why an experienced maker didn't put a label, writing or stamp inside his instrument telling full name, location an year of making. That would be logical for me. But there ist no sign of any signature inside the violin. I've noticed I didn't show a picture of the inside back plate, so here it is.

boden-innen.thumb.jpg.3ee5d1969e6549f0688900844791d5e5.jpg

57 minutes ago, Wood Butcher said:

The peg holes may have been placed intentionally high, to minimise the strain on gut strings, in the hope they would break less frequently at the nut, or between the nut and peg.

Concerning the peg holes that could indeed be the reason but was a bad decision in the long run because those cracks at the A peg holes are difficult to restore.

Since the purfling isn't only decorative but prevents cracks in top and back is the painted on purfling a sign of a very old instrument when inlaid purfling was uncommon yet? Or rather the sign of a cheap instrument? I don't know when makers started to do inlaid purfling but I've read that old instruments from Salzkammergut region, from the Vogtland area and some cheap JTL's had painted on purfling. 

Until now I haven't found a maker with the initials "I. C.". I'm not sure if the letter ahead of the "I" looking like "J" could belong to the signature.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

48 minutes ago, Mel S. said:

I'm wondering why an experienced maker didn't put a label, writing or stamp inside his instrument telling full name, location an year of making. That would be logical for me. But there ist no sign of any signature inside the violin.

Far more violins have been made with no maker's label, signature, markings etc. than ever have been with them. This is not unusual, and in some places, was the common practice.

I agree it is frustrating, and many will never be correctly identified as a result.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...