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Violin ID and is it worth repairing?? Bailly? French?


jumpinjimmy

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Hi, This is a violin with a Jenny Bailly label, printed signature, so already suspect, however, she seems to have used all sorts of labels in her career, and I have identified a cello with this identical label, so ??  I had this looked over by a luthier in Brussels and she thought it to be a very good quality violin and the label did not throw up any flags for her.  Any thoughts here?  I have included a photo of the linings where they meet the corner blocks (morticed?) and a few photos of the inside.  Cracks on the bass bar side of the top, cracked rib near end pin and peg box crack by one of the tuners.   If you think it's a trade violin, I'd appreciate some qualification as to why.

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Edited by jumpinjimmy
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  • jumpinjimmy changed the title to Violin ID and is it worth repairing?? Bailly? French?

For the two cracks on the top I see no problem. Should be quick and easy. For the broken rib, it depends where the block is. 
I see the biggest problem in the pegbox crack. This needs some solid reinforcement and is more work. 
 

Once repaired this should be a pretty decent student level instrument.

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1 hour ago, Andreas Preuss said:

For the two cracks on the top I see no problem. Should be quick and easy. For the broken rib, it depends where the block is. 
I see the biggest problem in the pegbox crack. This needs some solid reinforcement and is more work. 
 

Once repaired this should be a pretty decent student level instrument.

Thank you for your input.  Do you have any thoughts about the attribution or it being a french violin with Italian influence?  

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36 minutes ago, jacobsaunders said:

It is a French "trade violin" like many thousands of others

I am surprised at the French attribution, I would have gone for the "usual". Any clues as to what makes it French that you wish to share?  I see that the top is pinned, is this common on French violins or just the cheaper ones?

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9 minutes ago, Delabo said:

I am surprised at the French attribution, I would have gone for the "usual". Any clues as to what makes it French that you wish to share?  I see that the top is pinned, is this common on French violins or just the cheaper ones?

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On balance I don't think it a usual, although we should wait for Blank Face to judge:)

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That will be an expensive repair! I would probably consider the crack in the front to be a bass bar crack. That would be a top off repair, and the cracked rib could be addressed at the same time. The cracked rib is close to the lower block, so it might include some work on the lower block. The pegbox repair should probably include some carbon fiber rings inside.

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5 hours ago, jacobsaunders said:

On balance I don't think it a usual, although we should wait for Blank Face to judge:)

As far as I know, Jenny Bailly labeled violins are usually better French/Mirecourt trade. Though at the OP some features aren't very clear (rib joints f.e., though they look somehow wobbly) I would think that neither the purfling/edges nor the scroll look really French here. Anyway, IMO the condition makes a repair not rewarding for somebody who needs to pay for it.

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I had this looked over by a luthier in Brussels and she thought it to be a very good quality violin and the label did not throw up any flags for her. 

As you  seem to be in Brussels, I would recommend visiting Jan Strick at Maison Bernard for an opinion (make an appointment first, because he's travelling a lot). I suspect he will agree with Fiddle Doug and Blank Face regarding the condition, though.

Not sure who you showed the violin to (and certainly no need to disclaim that on a public forum), but some luthiers are excellent at making/repairing/maintening instruments while they are not specialist when it comes to attributing, which is not their job to begin with.

I've had a violin attributed twice to Mirecourt by different luthiers in Brussels (and several years apart), when it's obvious that it's German (through neck, no blocks, etc.). It has somewhat "French looking" corners though ;) By the time, I didn't question that attribution, it was only after spending time on this forum that I realized it was wrong.

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16 hours ago, Blank face said:

As far as I know, Jenny Bailly labeled violins are usually better French/Mirecourt trade. Though at the OP some features aren't very clear (rib joints f.e., though they look somehow wobbly) I would think that neither the purfling/edges nor the scroll look really French here. Anyway, IMO the condition makes a repair not rewarding for somebody who needs to pay for it.

Hi, Thanks for your reply.  I have added a few detailed photos.  I was hoping to better understand what people here are looking at when deciding the quality and origins of a violin.  Apparently German and French schools of making have distinctive attributes but I don't understand what they are.  In this case, it would seem a consensus is not easy.

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Edited by jumpinjimmy
forgot to add a photo
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11 hours ago, HH1978 said:

As you  seem to be in Brussels, I would recommend visiting Jan Strick at Maison Bernard for an opinion (make an appointment first, because he's travelling a lot). I suspect he will agree with Fiddle Doug and Blank Face regarding the condition, though.

Not sure who you showed the violin to (and certainly no need to disclaim that on a public forum), but some luthiers are excellent at making/repairing/maintening instruments while they are not specialist when it comes to attributing, which is not their job to begin with.

I've had a violin attributed twice to Mirecourt by different luthiers in Brussels (and several years apart), when it's obvious that it's German (through neck, no blocks, etc.). It has somewhat "French looking" corners though ;) By the time, I didn't question that attribution, it was only after spending time on this forum that I realized it was wrong.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.  I took it a luthier that was closest to where I live in Brussels, but who has a proper shop and is a builder of instruments, but like you say, I don't know what her qualifications are as far as attributing...she did however, think the instrument was well made, was familiar with Jenny Bailly and asked if perhaps I would be interested in selling it, obviously for a modest price given the work needed, but I would assume for ultimately a re-sale, which made me think that it can't be all that bad and surely she is capable of recognising good workmanship.  I can see that I'm not going to have a budget for repairing this violin, so I'll most likely end up selling it as is and hope it will find someone that is able to repair it themselves.  All this said though, I was hoping to be able learn from this and to better understand what people are looking at when deciding whether a violin is made in France or Germany.  From the comments thus far, it seems more complex than I thought and not easy from looking at photos, since there seems to be no consensus.  PS.  I added a few extra photos to Blank Face's comment, if you care to have a look.  The label is a half-tone print, an odd and labor intensive method of making a few violin labels, so another level of mystery.  Isn't Jenny Bailly an obscure choice of a violin maker to knock off if it is indeed a copy?  Would removing the top reveal more about the quality of the workmanship?

Edited by jumpinjimmy
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4 hours ago, jumpinjimmy said:

Hi, Thanks for your reply.  I have added a few detailed photos.  I was hoping to better understand what people here are looking at when deciding the quality and origins of a violin.  Apparently German and French schools of making have distinctive attributes but I don't understand what they are.  In this case, it would seem a consensus is not easy.

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There are several features, and always depending of the assumed period of making, too. In general, the most important difference from the late 19th/early 20th century would be that Mirecourt used the outside mould, resulting in mitred/overlapping rib joints, while Markneukirchen/Schönbach (not Mittenwald!!!) built on the back with rib joints pinched together symmetrically, more or less. I still can't make out what's going on with your violin. OTOH the purfling with thin white/thick dark stripes, jointed central in the corner, are certainly a Markneukirchen feature. The scroll looks nicer in the actual photos, but I wouldn't be sure about the origin neither. Are the the front scroll flutings carved to the last end? Are the outer ribs overlapping the C bouts? And is the bottom seam cleated? These were more features.

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I added a few extra photos to Blank Face's comment, if you care to have a look. 

I'm not an expert, so I would trust the opinion of Jacob and Blank Face much better than my own ;)

But if you want to borrow my endoscope to get a better look inside your violin, you are welcome! Just send me a PM (in French or English, as you prefer).

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21 hours ago, Blank face said:

There are several features, and always depending of the assumed period of making, too. In general, the most important difference from the late 19th/early 20th century would be that Mirecourt used the outside mould, resulting in mitred/overlapping rib joints, while Markneukirchen/Schönbach (not Mittenwald!!!) built on the back with rib joints pinched together symmetrically, more or less. I still can't make out what's going on with your violin. OTOH the purfling with thin white/thick dark stripes, jointed central in the corner, are certainly a Markneukirchen feature. The scroll looks nicer in the actual photos, but I wouldn't be sure about the origin neither. Are the the front scroll flutings carved to the last end? Are the outer ribs overlapping the C bouts? And is the bottom seam cleated? These were more features.

Thank for writing back and giving me some info to work with.  This is very much like detective work and looking at the violin closer at the rib joints (and profiting from a broken corner, it's looks (now that I know what to look for) like these joints are all overlapping.  It takes looking at them with strong light but each corner has end grain from one rib visible and then the next rib looks to join up underneath it.   I attached a photo here.  I've also been looking at all of the photos of Jenny Bailly violins that I could find and it seems her workmanship varied quite a lot...shape of the f-holes, some f-holes more upright than others, perfling used (I attached a photo of a viola for sale with a photo of my violin for comparison), types of labels, some backs pinned (also attached photo from Tarisio website).  My violin does not have any cleats along the internal seams of the front or back, although there has been what looks to be a poor repair job of a crack at some point and perhaps the top was pinned at that point??  Also, I am realising that certain members are taxed quite often on this sort of posting which makes me doubly appreciative of you all taking the time to respond. Thank you.  I'm not looking for any sort of attribution here, but trying to narrow down where this was made is very interesting to me.  This is a link to the JB viola that's for sale:  https://www.violinviolacello.com/PageOfJennyBaillyViola.htm

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Edited by jumpinjimmy
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Thanks for the new pictures. The ribs look mitred, but the purfling nothing like Mirecourt, so I would guess that it's one of this rather rare outside mould made Markneukirchens from the 1920/30s.

The viola looks very different to the violin in my eyes, like good Mirecourt work from the period, maybe comparable to a Collin-Mezin from that time. But here are specialsts in this realm who will correct me and could tell if this viola fells into the trade category or not.

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55 minutes ago, Blank face said:

Thanks for the new pictures. The ribs look mitred, but the purfling nothing like Mirecourt, so I would guess that it's one of this rather rare outside mould made Markneukirchens from the 1920/30s.

The viola looks very different to the violin in my eyes, like good Mirecourt work from the period, maybe comparable to a Collin-Mezin from that time. But here are specialsts in this realm who will correct me and could tell if this viola fells into the trade category or not.

Thanks again for your input!!

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3 hours ago, Blank face said:

The ribs look mitred, but the purfling nothing like Mirecourt, so I would guess that it's one of this rather rare outside mould made Markneukirchens from the 1920/30s.

Isn't it also possible to file or cut BOB rib joins to make them appear to be mitered?

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1 hour ago, GeorgeH said:

Isn't it also possible to file or cut BOB rib joins to make them appear to be mitered?

It is quite possible to manipulate a lot and let things appear different from what they really are, but I wouldn't expect this at that kind of violin. Most buyers of student or hobby player instruments would not recognize any difference, and most professionels neither.

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2 hours ago, Blank face said:

It is quite possible to manipulate a lot and let things appear different from what they really are, but I wouldn't expect this at that kind of violin. Most buyers of student or hobby player instruments would not recognize any difference, and most professionels neither.

Everything else on this violin looks Markneukirchen, including the pin on the top, and there is really nothing else besides the rib joins to suggest it was made using an outside mold. And the rib joins are not parallel and look filed sharp, not flat a la Français.

I suspect filing of the ribs to make them look mitered and hide the center seam is more common than one might suspect.

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Hi

To me either,  its a very cut case  no doubt that this is neither a Jenny nor French. I'm also of the opinion that  it's  was made in Germany.

As additional comment to what had already been said I fail to seen any resemblance with the viola picture posted,  (construction of the edge and edge work,   purfling  purfling  are very different).

The label is a rather the "usual" one,   N° and signature should not be  printed but handwriten often in a blue colored ink (not always) violins are usualy also signed on the inside.. (but yes all of this can be faked).

 

 



 


 

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On 1/24/2024 at 9:29 PM, GeorgeH said:

Everything else on this violin looks Markneukirchen, including the pin on the top, and there is really nothing else besides the rib joins to suggest it was made using an outside mold. And the rib joins are not parallel and look filed sharp, not flat a la Français.

I suspect filing of the ribs to make them look mitered and hide the center seam is more common than one might suspect.

I'm no expert, but this is what I see too. Above all, I've never seen a violin with that purfling that I thought was French... Schönbach all the way, originally better grade (finer maple, scroll cut deeper, good work..) but now so damaged, definitely questionable who will pay for the repairs...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I ended up selling the violin to a luthier who kindly sent me photos of the violin once he had opened it up, which I attach here.  I appreciate everyone's input and making the whole process of sharing in the group a real learning experience.  I welcome any thoughts you may have about these photos, as I am eager to learn more.  

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