Jump to content
Maestronet Forums

Holmdale ("Art Nouveau") Violin pictures


Michael Richwine

Recommended Posts

10 minutes ago, Ron1 said:

Then Michael posted the above, and no one has even mentioned this apparent "other" violin with his actual label. 

On 12/28/2023 at 3:42 PM, Michael Richwine said:

Written inside on the upper rib and neck block is: "Made by Thurston Holmdale, Brooklyn N.Y. U.S.A. 1918".

I thought that the handwritten label and the handwriting on wood were both in the same violin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 75
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

On 1/1/2024 at 8:46 PM, Ron1 said:

... no one has even mentioned this apparent "other" violin with his actual label.  

From what Michael is saying, there is only one violin with the maker's name inscribed on a rib, as well as on a paper label.

I was posting a second violin related to the varnish topic, an instrument from the same/similar period with similar finish features.  It has no label, but also has an odd scroll.  

The talk about varnish stems from the original post, where there was much interest over the alligatoring, and how it should be treated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/1/2024 at 8:51 PM, GeorgeH said:

Perhaps the instrument was imported and purchased in the white, and the decorative inlays, neck, and varnishing were added by Holmdale. 

My example and Michael's are both from major cities, Atlanta and New York, where major shops would import.  Both violins are nontraditionally finished, but have good-ish interior work.

In the case of Michael's violin, it's possible that the ribs were inscribed via an instructor's hand, in a class/workshop setting.  His is more skillfully finished, a less pre-built item than the instrument that I had.  

It's just a story, but it seems possible that Holmdale would have had the skill and connections to make a workshop scenario possible.  And my elderly farming fiddler from Atlanta probably didn't have the same shop access/skill circle to get as nice of a result.  Ironically... similar varnish though.   :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/2/2024 at 4:11 AM, iburkard said:

I was posting a second violin related to the varnish topic, an instrument from the same/similar period with similar finish features.  It has not label, but also has an odd scroll.  

You didn't post a violin. If you want to take your violin into account for anything you need to show some detailled photos as described in the identification thread at the top of the pegbox site. Otherwise we know nothing but three scroll photos from unfortunate angles, so this violin could be anything from anywhere and any period. Inscribed year numbers and hearsay tellings are just unreliable, as we can watch daily in the usual ID threads.

It could be interesting, but not at this state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Blank face said:

It could be interesting, but not at this state.

Happy new year to you too.

The information that I relayed is not hearsay, it's a visible paper trail for Michael and my instrument, to help establish varnish timeline/era.

I did post a violin.  The images are for varnish texture reference only, not ID.  I don't have to give you pegbox standard photos.  I don't have them, and you do not need them.  If my information is too unfortunate to be useful, from your personal point of view, I cannot help you.

For my specific item, there are tangible dates of existence of player, and existence of instrument.  Your assumptions about time have tried to push me back in time more and more, but when I look, I am pulled farther away from your expected region/timeline.

If you want me to lift some varnish off of my chair and mail it to you for chemical analysis, happy to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, iburkard said:

Happy new year to you too.

The information that I relayed is not hearsay, it's a visible paper trail for Michael and my instrument, to help establish varnish timeline/era.

I did post a violin.  The images are for varnish texture reference only, not ID.  I don't have to give you pegbox standard photos.  I don't have them, and you do not need them.  If my information is too unfortunate to be useful, from your personal point of view, I cannot help you.

For my specific item, there are tangible dates of existence of player, and existence of instrument.  Your assumptions about time have tried to push me back in time more and more, but when I look, I am pulled farther away from your expected region/timeline.

If you want me to lift some varnish off of my chair and mail it to you for chemical analysis, happy to do it.

On 12/31/2023 at 5:41 PM, iburkard said:

Photo from 2007, finish reference only
~1920, Atlanta, no ID marks, no purfling, dark top looks stained, no decoration beyond wild scroll.  No more photos coming, this was the best that I could dig up.
 

image.thumb.png.282a8674b90016bbf41aa7fdcf14f5d8.png image.thumb.png.4f93dc641cd26f15b3e9083b95188467.png

image.png.dca3ac5b7030d3867b6144ad8366514d.png

 

 

On 12/31/2023 at 6:02 PM, iburkard said:

The instrument was in hand, from an active older player in Atlanta, documented in 1926 and later, player died in ~1940, so we know that it's at least 1920s.  He was not a famous player, just a local musician, fiddler.

 

On 12/31/2023 at 7:28 PM, iburkard said:

The violin is probably older, but being conservative puts us in 1920.  We could push back to 1910 or 1900 -- seems that he started playing much later in life.  He was born in 1886, died at age 54.

I'm not sure what the intended color of the chair or violin varnish was.  We would assume not opaque?   :lol:

 

On 1/2/2024 at 4:30 AM, iburkard said:

What was interesting about my instrument - it was lacking purfling, finished with nonstandard edges, ornate scroll and a nice interior.  The idea of people grabbing parts, and finishing purfling/edge work, varnish and setup at home or in a class/workshop setting makes a lot of sense.  I had always assumed that it was some kind of custom local order.

Happy and prosperous New Year!

I'm sorry if I have offended your feelings, but as you noticed, the goal is to find clearly identified violins, which can be used as reference for the OP instrument. You don't have to give anything, but this is what's needed to be helpful.

I collected all what you posted about the violin, and there's no paper trail shown except maybe about who played it, but nothing what could help to identify the violin in regards of who made it, where and when, what is the only thing what could help to know if it's from a comparable origin (both time and place, in other words "school of") as the other, which is at least very detailed shown in photos.

I can see only three photos of a scroll, and some claims about oral history (or maybe even papers which aren't pictured). "It was in hand of.." and so on. That's not what I'm understanding as "I posted a violin" and what could give evidence for anything, or to compare it to others.

Your's could have been made also in Europe during the 19th century, in England or elsewhere and was inscribed later by an owner or repairer. So it doesn't help to solve any question in regards of a 1918 New York labelled instrument.

The chair isn't a violin, so it doesn't help neither.

As I wrote, you don't have to do anything.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Blank face said:

Happy and prosperous New Year!

I'm sorry if I have offended your feelings, but as you noticed, the goal is to find clearly identified violins, which can be used as reference for the OP instrument. You don't have to give anything, but this is what's needed to be helpful.

I collected all what you posted about the violin, and there's no paper trail shown except maybe about who played it, but nothing what could help to identify the violin in regards of who made it, where and when, what is the only thing what could help to know if it's from a comparable origin (both time and place, in other words "school of") as the other, which is at least very detailed shown in photos.

I can see only three photos of a scroll, and some claims about oral history (or maybe even papers which aren't pictured). "It was in hand of.." and so on. That's not what I'm understanding as "I posted a violin" and what could give evidence for anything, or to compare it to others.

Your's could have been made also in Europe during the 19th century, in England or elsewhere and was inscribed later by an owner or repairer. So it doesn't help to solve any question in regards of a 1918 New York labelled instrument.

The chair isn't a violin, so it doesn't help neither.

As I wrote, you don't have to do anything.

 

 

Implying that I was pulling imagery/dates from a dubious internet post was insulting.  Directing me to MN standards of how to share photos of an instrument, and quoting my own comments back to me just to say that they are not useful, is all a bit silly.

The measure of what is and is not useful clearly varies.  Your bar is high, and this approach to interacting with people can come across as rudely dismissive, especially when everyone else is doing the work, and you are simply asking for more.  I took a photo of a chair back for you, just to relay that yes indeed, this type of failed finish exists on other items.  Yes, Michael was telling the truth.  Proving truth for basic basic statements can be tiring.   

I was originally commenting to share a violin with similar varnish quality, similar era, with no hard facts for you.  It's all visual/texture information only, and dates are ballparks from public records.  You can say that my violin is from the 19C, and I can say it's from the 20C based on ownership and context clues.  I'm not here to provide sterile information for a database, it's just conversation.

Is everyone uncomfortable with agreeing that Michael's violin is from the date inscribed?  Does every alligatored finish have to be from an expected date range?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 minutes ago, iburkard said:



Is everyone uncomfortable with agreeing that Michael's violin is from the date inscribed?  Does every alligatored finish have to be from an expected date range?

I would be happy to judge for myself were you to provide adequate pictures, if not I am not interested

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, iburkard said:

The measure of what is and is not useful clearly varies.  Your bar is high, and this approach to interacting with people can come across as rudely dismissive, especially when everyone else is doing the work, and you are simply asking for more

You simply don’t seem to understand the requirements of violin identification. Most of the new posters are understanding it better. You want to compare and give a reference, but refuse to accept the basics for this.
What’s wrong to ask for more details of a violin you want to share? In your first post it wasn’t even clear if it was ever yours, so I asked if it was from the internet, how could you take offense?

I think I gave tons of informations about the varnish, where to find it, about instruments, linked to other threads full of more, but your reaction is not very respectful. Even less now to Jacob who asked for your instrument, not the OP. I’m very sorry, but that’s no way for a good communication, but childish. For me it’s better to ignore this kind of posting from now on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Blank face said:

You simply don’t seem to understand the requirements of violin identification. Most of the new posters are understanding it better. You want to compare and give a reference, but refuse to accept the basics for this.
What’s wrong to ask for more details of a violin you want to share? In your first post it wasn’t even clear if it was ever yours, so I asked if it was from the internet, how could you take offense?

I think I gave tons of informations about the varnish, where to find it, about instruments, linked to other threads full of more, but your reaction is not very respectful. Even less now to Jacob who asked for your instrument, not the OP. I’m very sorry, but that’s no way for a good communication, but childish. For me it’s better to ignore this kind of posting from now on.

Jacob is known for accurate slight replies, and joking.  I'm happy to take his comment at face value.  He quoted me talking about Michael's violin.

I know what's required for ID, and to imply that new users know better than me is silly.  Again, I bumped the conversation back to Michael's instrument, not my instrument.  There is not enough information to ID my violin, only to roughly date it's period of use and to observe that the finish is similar to Michael's.  I'm still inclined to believe that it's 20th century, which carries no weight.

I'm not trying to be rude here.  If you can operate like this, and see no need for adjustment, awesome.  I will try to avoid participating where you participate if this is always the outcome.  I'd prefer to be able to talk, but it seems like we communicate in incompatible ways.

Again, the conversation for me was just about textured varnish and timeline.  I can't provide any of the finer information that you want.  Don't go out of your way to devalue my participation.  The Pegbox has historically been a place where I could come and talk with friends about instruments, without this level of nonsense.    

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've got my answers, and a plan: I consulted with some people at a furniture restoration group I belonged to back  in the 90s, and with Ron Ashby at Shellac.net, as well as all who contributed here. On further examination and under UV, the finish on this violin is pure shellac over wood stain that has migrated with time, but not esterified badly, and still re-dissolves easily. So, as far as restoring it, I'm going to cut back the ugliest parts using ethanol and alternating wet and dry swabs until I get the look I want. Then, in the areas subjected to playing wear, I'll take it down very close to the wood, and color in and build up spirit varnish, using the usual techniques to make the colors look right as I go, and leaving a hard-wearing, easily maintainable surface,

Regarding the violin itself, the corner blocks are symmetrical, very much like Markneukirchen work. I can't see any rib joint lines; they are covered by shellac clumps, but the joints are wide enough to be mitered, can't say for sure. No centering pins on back or top. One unusual feature consists of some paper or parchment cleats about 3x7 mm across the back seam  that are under the stain on the inside of the back, hence probably original. None under the top.

Thanks to all who participated in this thread. I've got quite a job ahead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Michael Richwine said:

I've got my answers, and a plan: I consulted with some people at a furniture restoration group I belonged to back  in the 90s, and with Ron Ashby at Shellac.net, as well as all who contributed here. On further examination and under UV, the finish on this violin is pure shellac over wood stain that has migrated with time, but not esterified badly, and still re-dissolves easily. So, as far as restoring it, I'm going to cut back the ugliest parts using ethanol and alternating wet and dry swabs until I get the look I want. Then, in the areas subjected to playing wear, I'll take it down very close to the wood, and color in and build up spirit varnish, using the usual techniques to make the colors look right as I go, and leaving a hard-wearing, easily maintainable surface,

Regarding the violin itself, the corner blocks are symmetrical, very much like Markneukirchen work. I can't see any rib joint lines; they are covered by shellac clumps, but the joints are wide enough to be mitered, can't say for sure. No centering pins on back or top. One unusual feature consists of some paper or parchment cleats about 3x7 mm across the back seam  that are under the stain on the inside of the back, hence probably original. None under the top.

Thanks to all who participated in this thread. I've got quite a job ahead.

How does shellac fluoresce under UV as distinct from cooked rosin/ oil? (My cooked rosin varnishes fluoresce very strongly.) Or shellac plus rosin?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t think of UV light so much as a way to tell what kind of varnish I’m looking at, more as a way to distinguish different types of varnish that have been applied, like retouching or revarnishing. Of course, if work has been done using a UV light, the repair might escape notice. It is possible to match the fluorescence of a varnish so that the repair essentially disappears. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, LCF said:

How does shellac fluoresce under UV as distinct from cooked rosin/ oil? (My cooked rosin varnishes fluoresce very strongly.) Or shellac plus rosin?

IME, old oil varnishes generally don't fluoresce much at all, if any, where shellac tends to fluoresce a semi-opaque. dingy greenish yellow. This fiddle is clearly shellac all over, except where it is worn off down to bare wood.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

I thought that shellac would fluoresce orange

It might vary with the wavelength of UV. I just have a battery powered LED UV flashlight. I checked a dozen or so violins i have hanging nearby plus some stick shellac, and they all fluoresced as I described above. The oil varnished ones didn't fluoresce at all, nor did the rosin I keep for other purposes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Michael Richwine said:

It might vary with the wavelength of UV. I just have a battery powered LED UV flashlight. I checked a dozen or so violins i have hanging nearby plus some stick shellac, and they all fluoresced as I would describe as I did above. The oil varnished ones didn't fluoresce at all, nor did the rosin I keep for other purposes.

Sounds like you have a very poor UV light, oil varnishes always have a signature under my correct wavelength fluorescent UV light, regular black lights like it seems you have are useless

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sounds like you have a very poor UV light, oil varnishes always have a signature under my correct wavelength fluorescent UV light, regular black lights like it seems you have are useless

I don't care; not important to me. It does what I need.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sounds like you have a very poor UV light, oil varnishes always have a signature under my correct wavelength fluorescent UV light, regular black lights like it seems you have are useless

What type of UV light do you use? Do you know the wavelength of it?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, LCF said:

What type of UV light do you use? Do you know the wavelength of it?

Sorry I don't remember, I read about it on this forum a long time ago and ordered the correct wavelength, I know what people call black lights are completely wrong, it has to be limited to a correct spectrum of frequencies. I have a 10" fluorescent battery camping light with a transformer to plug it in, I think a google search would tell you what you are looking for, the company I bought the fluorescent tubes from knew what kind however I've forgotten who they were as well. You'' probably have an easier time finding a fluorescent bulb rather than a regular type bulb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Strad O Various Jr. said:

Sorry I don't remember, I read about it on this forum a long time ago and ordered the correct wavelength, I know what people call black lights are completely wrong, it has to be limited to a correct spectrum of frequencies. I have a 10" fluorescent battery camping light with a transformer to plug it in, I think a google search would tell you what you are looking for, the company I bought the fluorescent tubes from knew what kind however I've forgotten who they were as well. You'' probably have an easier time finding a fluorescent bulb rather than a regular type bulb

One violin repairer I knew had a Wood's light UV tube, a very expensive unit with suitable power supply he bought from someone like GeWa. Wood's Light tubes produce 365nM UV.  LED's are available in a range of UV wavelengths and cheaply. I measured a 1W UV torch I bought at random and luckily it has the same 365nM output.

My phone camera is a bit overwhelmed by the UV and the fluorescence but here is a pot of ordinary orange shellac flakes under normal light then 365nM uv. They are actually very brightly glowing, opaque with a burnt orange appearance.  On test boards I see a similar bright orange fluorescence in the shellac seal, not as powdery. Otoh cooked resin/oil varnished brushed over that  shellac sealer glows a bright lemon yellow. 

20240106_133519-1.jpg

20240106_133526.jpg

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...