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Holmdale ("Art Nouveau") Violin pictures

Michael Richwine

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Progress report: I got a variety of materials, made up some samples, tried some techniques, and am well on the way to having a nice fiddle!  Tried various forms of button lac, but ended up using a spirit varnish made of garnet shellac with sandarac and mastic. The color works perfectly. Various things work well with the clumped up and alligatored areas; they are soft, and applying spirit varnish over them with a very conservative French polish technique establishes a barrier coat that lets me cut down the clumped up areas, and at the same time saturates and clarifies the varnish that's remaining there, so I can gradually cut back the ugly lumps, all the while solidifying and protecting the alligatored areas and enhancing the overall look and durability. I can do whatever I want with any given area leaving the parts I want to look old, and highlighting the parts I want to show off, and leaving the wear areas so they will hold up well.  Best thing is, I feel like I've got control, and can do as much or as little as I feel necessary and still preserve the antique character. Will post some pix as areas start to look "close".  I'm just poking along as time permits, but it's going well.

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