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Title: Violins and Violin Makers - Biographical Dictionary of the Great Italian Artistes, - their Followers and Imitators, to the present time. With - Essays on Important Subjects Connected with the Violin.
Author: Pearce, J. H. (Joseph Henry), 1856-
Language: English
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Preface                                                       5

Introduction                                                  8

Violin Makers, alphabetically arranged                       15

Bow Makers                                                   88

Cremona                                                      93

Amati Family                                                 93

Stradiuarius                                                107

On the Cremona Varnish                                      119

Guarnerius                                                  121

Steiner                                                     131

Why are certain Violins of more Value than others?          140

On the Production of Good Tone in Violins                   148

Great Players and their Instruments                         152

General Notes                                               154

Repairs of Instruments                                      162

Addenda                                                     167


The Violin is an instrument which, though small and of trifling
original cost, has yet commanded most extraordinary prices. The reason
of the immense difference in the value of these instruments must
therefore be a subject possessing strong claims to notice from virtuoso
and amateur.

To distinguish by the outward characteristics and peculiarities of
tone, that which will be of pecuniary value to the possessor, and yield
the utmost delight to the hearer, is an acquirement at once difficult
to obtain and very valuable when obtained. To assist the amateur and
collector in this pursuit is the object of the present little work.
Such a work has long been a desideratum.

Of late years, the History of the Violin and its congeners has received
much attention. Elaborate and costly treatises have been published,
some of which being written in Foreign tongues, are exceedingly
difficult to obtain, and not accessible to many of those who desire to
peruse them, on that account. Others are very imperfect and
unsatisfying. Others again, are, from their high price, beyond the
reach of the greater number of amateurs.

The present work is intended chiefly for the use of those who desire a
handy guide to the principal characteristics both of make and tone
which mark the chief builders of this most famous instrument. Many
persons anxious to possess a good instrument, and led away by the very
natural desire to possess an Amati, a Guarnerius, or a Stradiuarius are
tempted into purchasing Violins which are presented to them under false
and delusive titles, and reject frequently good and genuine instruments
of less famous makers, but still valuable because they are good and
genuine. Undoubted specimens of the great masters are now very rarely
to be had, unless at a very high price. Yet, when we consider that even
Stradiuarius himself obtained no more than four pounds for his best
instruments, which now command as many hundreds--it is evident that, in
the absence of those great productions, the works of his pupils and
successors are well worthy the attention of amateurs. There is no
doubt, indeed, that many of these, which from being built on his
principles are of first-rate quality, have been sold as those of the
master himself. It cannot, therefore, be questioned that a knowledge
which will lead the amateur to buy an instrument for what it really is,
instead of what it professes to be, will at once save him from the
unpleasantness of paying too dearly, and in real enjoyment yield all
that can be desired.

The author believes he has in this work given the amateur and
connoisseur information not easily attainable elsewhere, but as he is
fully conscious that there may be imperfections in it still, he will be
glad to receive any suggestions or information which may enable him to
render it still more complete.

Sheffield, February, 1866.


The two most pleasing, expressive, and powerful single instruments of
music are the human voice and the violin. The one, the gift of
beneficent nature, has from the creation exercised its touching
influence on the human soul--the other, the product of the ingenuity of
man, has only within the last three centuries attained to perfection,
but since that period what delight, what rapture has arisen from so
simple a construction, when acted upon by the hand of genius!

While the melodious tones of Grisi and Mario have touched with
sympathetic feelings the hearts and imaginations of spell bound
listeners, how have the magic tones of Paganini and Ernst wrapped the
souls of wondering thousands in an elysium of delight and admiration!
What effect cannot be produced by the Violin, (except that of speech,)
which the voice can accomplish?

The Violin in the hands of genius can draw tears or create laughter.
Whoever has heard the great masters of this extraordinary instrument,
has heard all the sweetness of tone, the intensity of feeling, the
power of expression that the most gifted sons and daughters of song
could possibly produce without the additional aid of speech. The
Violin, in fact, in its power of expression far excels those singers,
of whom there are too many, who while singing the notes, fail to make
their hearers understand the sense of their songs. If a merry dance is
produced by the agile bow, its sympathetic tones at once excite a
corresponding feeling. If a plaintive air streams in delicious and
heart-touching cadences from the strings, what soul is there so dead to
feeling as not to respond?

The perfection of the Violin is that its master, if alive to the subtle
and mysterious influences of the imagination, can elicit from it the
most perfect and touching "songs without words."

It is besides the only instrument, except the voice, which is perfect.
Every shade of expression, every nicety of tone can be produced on it.
All other instruments sink into insignificance in comparison with the
Violin, because they cannot do this. They are all more or less
imperfect; and therefore fail in those subtleties of expression of
which the Violin and the voice are such able exponents.

What gratitude do we owe therefore to those great masters of Cremona,
more especially the Amati and Stradiuarius, who have succeeded in
bringing the Violin to its present state of perfection.

Music has in all ages been a source of the purest delight. The greatest
poet and dramatist the world ever knew says that whoever "has not music
in his soul is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils." In the
present age the cultivation of Music forms one of the most general and
the most refined sources of amusement and pleasure. All ranks of people
are now privileged to join in its delightful enjoyments.

Even the cottage of the artisan is now often elevated by the elegant
practice of music, through the increased facilities for producing
instruments at a cheap rate. The consequence is that in the present age
there is a more general study and a finer perception of what is good
and beautiful, and their elevating tendencies are doing much for the
mental cultivation and refinement of all classes.

A very extraordinary feature of the musical world of the present day is
the enormous orchestras which can be produced on special occasions. A
chorus of several thousand voices supported by hundreds of instruments
may now be heard, rendering the immortal compositions of the greatest
masters of the divine Art, in the Peoples' Palace at Sydenham and
elsewhere. These Orchestras are chiefly selected from the ranks of the
people, of whom the artisan is the chief contributor.

The reduction of the cost of instruments and the adoption of what may
be called the joint stock principle are tending still further to
enlarge the boundaries of the practical musical world. At any time and
for any special purpose it is now easy to secure a band and chorus
sufficient in numbers and executive power to render in an efficient and
powerful manner, the glorious productions of Beethoven, Mozart, Handel,
and other great masters.

In all these transitions, the Violin bears a most important part. It is
the leading instrument in these great performances, as it is also,
after the voice, the most powerful medium of expression in solo. It is
also the peoples' instrument.

The labours of many eminent violin makers who have followed in the
steps of the great masters have of late so immensely improved the art,
that a good instrument may now be possessed by any one. And it may
safely be said that with its improvement, has arisen also the extension
and wide spread practice of music generally. An ear accustomed to the
fine tone of a good violin will not now tolerate a bad piano-forte.

The Piano-forte and the Violin are the most general instruments, and
they have alike participated in the improvements effected, in becoming
cheaper by the advance of science. Every description of machinery has
within the last fifty years received the attention of able men, and the
mechanical construction of the Piano-forte is one prominent proof of
the advantages which can be conferred by science on even the luxuries
of life.

The Violin, also, seemingly the most incapable of mechanical
application to its manufacture, is said to be now made by a most
persevering and enthusiastic lover and follower of the great makers, by
mechanical means. Copies of these celebrated makers, are now said to be
manufactured by him with an uniformity, a certainty, and a precision
impossible except by the aid of scientific improvements. These
instruments are therefore understood to require only the ameliorating
influences of time and use to become fine in tone and satisfactory in
every respect.

Every one interested in the progress of music, must rejoice at the
rapid development of its resources and the general spread of its
pleasures among the people. We are a profoundly commercial nation, and
it is delightful to see that in our greater wealth and prosperity,
rational amusements, and more especially music, go on increasing step
by step with our more business-like occupations. This class of
amusements must exercise a humanising and refining influence on the
habits and manners of the people, and they should be, therefore,
patronised and encouraged by all those whose means are large and their
example powerful. There can be no doubt that their tendency is for
good, and that those whose leisure hours are devoted to their practice
and study, will be richly benefited by them in all those qualities
which combine to make the good citizen and the estimable friend.

                 *       *       *       *       *


To prevent too much space being taken up in the alphabetical portion of
this work, separate chapters are given on the four renowned Violin
Makers, Amati, Stradiuarius, Guarnerius and Steiner. The names and
dates of each of the members of these celebrated families are however
given in their proper places, for prompt reference.

We have not in some cases been able to find any records beyond the
names of certain makers. Wherever possible we have given dates, places,
and style of work.



ACEVO, --- Cremona, Pupil of Guiseppe Cappa. This artiste made very
good violins in the style of the Amati.

ADDISON, WILLIAM, London, 1670.

AIRETON, EDMUND, London, 1730. A good and neat Maker.

ALDRED, --- London, Early English Lute Maker.

ALETZIE, PAULO, Monaco, 1720-30. Famous for his Violoncellos.

ALBANI, MATTHIAS, born at Botzen or Bulsani, in the Tyrol, about 1621.
This artist was highly esteemed formerly, and Otto says that it is
exceedingly difficult to give so exact a description of them as readily
to distinguish them from those of Nicholas Amati, who was said to be
his master. In the present day, opinions are very different.
Nevertheless there are some fine instruments by this maker, of high
model, with reddish brown varnish and bearing a great similarity to
those of Steiner, of whom he was also said to be a pupil. The
"Dictionary of Musicians" speaks highly of this maker. This was
decidedly the best artiste of this name.

ALBANI, PAOLO, Palermo and Cremona, was also under Nicholas Amati,
about 1659.

ALBANI, --- son of the above, about 1712, was also a careful maker,
and turned out some good Instruments.


For fuller particulars of these eminent makers, see separate Article.

AMATI, ANDREAS, Cremona, born 1520, died 1580.

AMATI, NICHOLAS, brother of the above, celebrated for his Basses.

AMATI, NICHOLAS, son of Andreas.

AMATI, ANTONIUS and HIERONYMUS. Sons of Andreas, 1550 to 1634, first
made together and afterwards separately.

AMATI, NICHOLAS, born 1596, died 1684, son of Hieronymus. This was the
greatest maker of the family.

AMATI, ANTONIO JEROME, do. 1640 to 1670.

AMATI, HIERONYMUS, Son of Nicholas, born 1649, said to be the last of
the Amati family. A violin of his is mentioned, dated 1672.

AMELINGUE, --- Paris, 18th Century.

ANSELMO, PIETRO, Venezia, 18th Century.

ARTMANN, GOTHA. Followed Cremona pattern.

ASSALONE, GASPARD, Rome, 18th Century. Cremona patterns.


BACHMANN, LOUIS CHARLES, Berlin, born 1716, died 1800. Considered to be
one of the best makers of Germany. Otto says, the Instruments by this
Maker are next in point of quality to the Cremonese. Without going so
far, with our present increased knowledge of the pupils of the Cremona
makers, it may still be admitted that Bachmann was an excellent maker
and was very careful in his proportions, so that Amateurs have been
often deceived into thinking them genuine Cremonas. They are of the
flat Stradiuarius Model, made of good wood, with amber varnish, and
therefore present considerable similarity to their patterns.

BAGANZI, --- see Bergonzi.

BAGATELLA, PIETRO,--Padua, 1766. Said not to be very good.

BAGATELLA, ANTONIO,--Padua, 1782. Author of a Work on the construction
of Instruments, from which Bishop in his Translation of Otto, has
appended a Theory for making a Violin on a very simple plan. He made
some excellent Violins after Cremona patterns.

BAINES, --- London, about 1780.

BAKER, --- Oxford about 1720.

BALESTRIERI, THOMAS, This excellent Maker was a pupil of Stradiuarius,
and made after his model. The Author has seen an Instrument by this
Artist, which is of the large flat pattern and has a magnificent and
brilliant tone. The wood of the back and ribs rather plain--the belly
very fine open grain, purfling not very neat--varnish reddish yellow.
Pronounced by judges to be equal to a fine Stradiuarius. It is dated
Thomas Balestrieri, Cremonensis, fecit Mantua, 1757. This instrument is
a proof that amateurs may in future look with safety to the pupils of
Stradiuarius for violins to take the place of those of the great
masters, which are yearly becoming scarcer and dearer.

BALESTRIERI, PIETRO, Cremona, rather earlier than Thomas.

BANKS, BENJAMIN, Salisbury. Born 1727, died 1795. Foster in his
excellent work calls him "one of England's best manufacturers. Too much
cannot be said in praise of this justly celebrated Maker. The work of
all the better class of instruments is excellent, the tone good of all;
but that of the Violoncellos in particular is full and sonorous." Mr.
Gardiner in his "Music and Friends," says "Banks of Salisbury's
Violoncellos are of the finest quality of tone--not so strong and fiery
as Foster's, but in sweetness and purity excelling them." They are
chiefly of the Amati pattern.--The best Instruments have brownish
yellow Varnish with a tinge of red, others deep red of a blackish
tinge, Varnish not brilliant.

BANKS, BENJAMIN, Son of the former, London, born 1754, died 1820.

BANKS, JAMES and HENRY, Salisbury, other sons of the same. James is
said to have been an excellent workman in his father's style, and dates
about 1805.

BARRETT, JOHN, London, about 1725. His labels state him to live at the
Harp and Crown, in Picadilly. He made some good instruments, but did
not purfle them. The author has seen a Violoncello by this maker which
was everything that could be desired in the matter of tone. The wood
and workmanship, however, were not equal to the tone, and this
circumstance will probably partly account for the settled preference
now given to the Italian instruments over all the old English makers.

BARTON, GEORGE, London, died 1810.

BEKMAN, SWENO, Stockholm, 1706.

BELLOSIO, --- one of the Venetian makers, 18th Century.

BENOIST, --- Paris, 18th Century.

BENTE, MATTEO, Brescia, about 1580. Well known among virtuosi as a
maker of merit in the style of Gaspar di Salo and Magini.


BERGONZI, CARLO, Cremona, 1712 to 1750. Considered by authorities to
be the best pupil of Stradiuarius. He made instruments of the same
beautiful and brilliant tone which has rendered the productions of his
master famous throughout the world. Constructed on similar principles,
and generally of well-chosen wood, there is no doubt the productions of
this excellent artiste will hereafter rank very high. Like Stradiuarius
himself, Carlo Bergonzi is by some considered to have been at one time
a pupil of Nicholas Amati. Every amateur would, if it were possible,
get a Stradiuarius, an Amati, or a Guarnerius, but as the genuine
violins of these makers are very rare and valuable, they should look
for the veritable instruments of their pupils, which are now beginning
to be highly esteemed on account of their intrinsic excellence.

BERGONZI, NICHOLAS, Son of Carlo, but said to be inferior to his

BERGONZI, MICHAEL ANGELO, Probably another son of Carlo. He, also, has
the credit of being a pupil of Stradiuarius, though that seems rather
doubtful, because the latter died in 1737, at which time, if a son of
Carlo, he would not have been old enough.

BERNADEL, --- Paris, 18th Century.

BETTS, JOHN, called Old Betts, London,


BETTS, EDWARD, his nephew.

These two well known makers were said to be pupils of Duke, but often
employed other artistes, such as Carter, Panormo, B. Fendt, and his
sons, whose work, chiefly imitations of the Cremona instruments, gained
them great reputation both at home and abroad. 1782 to 1823.

BINTERNAGLE, --- Gotha, 18th Century. This maker was a German imitator
of the Cremona Violins, and is said to have been very successful.

BOCQUAY, JAQUES, Paris, about 1620. A very good maker, and highly
esteemed in France.

BODIO, --- Venezia, 18th Century.

BOLLES, --- An early English Lute and Viol Maker. Mace, 1675, says
"one bass of Bolles, I have known valued at £100," equal to at least
£600 of our present money.

BORELLI, ANDREAS, Parma, 1740.

BOULLAINGER, --- London. A careful maker, who first worked for others,
and now on his own account.

BREMEISTER, JAN., Amsterdam, 1707.

BROSCHI, CARLO, Parma, 1744.

BRETON, Le, Paris.

BROWN, JAMES, born 1670, died 1834,


BROWN, JAMES, son of do., born 1786, died 1860. Both good workmen, but
without any speciality.

BUCHSTADTER, --- Ratisbon, 18th Century. Used the flat model. Otto
says the wood is not good, and therefore, though well built, the tone
is not fine; but Spohr puts his violins on his list as excellent
instruments. He may, therefore, be ranked among the good German makers.

BUDIANI, JAVIETTA, Brescia, about 1580. Made after the style of Gaspar
di Salo.


CAESTA, PIETRO ANTONIO DELLA, Trevisa, 18th Century, imitated

CAMILE, CAMILUS de, Mantua, esteemed as a pupil of Stradiuarius.

CAPPA, GIACHIMO or GIOFREDA or probably two Brothers, born at Cremona
and worked under Amati. Date there about 1590 and were in Piedmont
1640. There are some good Violoncellos of this make.

CAPPA, GUISEPPE--Saluzzo--end of 16th Century.

CAPPER, --- or probably Cappa, Mantua. A Violin of this make was sold
by auction in London in 1861, and said to be very good.

CARTER, JOHN, London, 1789, made some excellent instruments which were
sold both under his own name and under that of John Betts for whom he
had worked.

CARLO, GUISEPPE, Milan 1769.

CASSINO, ANTONIO, Modena, 17th Century.

CASTAGNERY, JEAN PAUL, Paris 1639 to 1662. This artist is considered to
be one of the best of the old French Makers. One authority says they
have a fine silvery tone but not powerful.

CASTAGNERI, ANDREA, Paris. 18th Century.

CHANOT, --- Mirecourt, France, a good maker, 18th Century.

CHANOT, --- London.

CHAPPUIS, (or Chappuy,) AUGUSTINE, about 1710.


CHEROTTE, --- Mirecourt, 18th Century.

CHEVRIER, --- Paris, 18th Century.


CHRISTOPHORI, BARTOLOMEO, Florence, 18th Century.

CIRCAPA, THOMASO. Naples, 1730.

CLARK, --- London.

COLE, THOMAS, London. Forster says no instrument has been preserved of
this maker, but that is a mistake. There is in the neighborhood of
Sheffield, a very large Tenor with a fine deep tone and the following
curious label.

    Made      1690,      by
          THOMAS COLE of
    London, on Holborn Hill, who selleth
    all sorts of Musical Instruments.

COLLINGWOOD, JOSEPH, London, 18th Century.

CORSBY, GEORGE, believed to be formerly a maker at Northampton, and now
and for a long time a dealer in Violins, &c., in Princes' Street, Soho,



CRASK, GEORGE, of various places, has made many Violins in imitation of
the Cremona Makers, some of which have been sold by unscrupulous
dealers as genuine instruments, an example of which we have seen which
was purchased by a professional man, since dead, of a Violinist then on
a Musical Tour. It is only right here to say that we believe Mr. Crask
to be entirely free from blame in this matter, as he sells these
instruments as his own productions.

CROWTHER, JOHN, 1755 to 1810.

CROSS, NATHANIEL, London, about 1720. He was partner at one time with
Barak Norman and used his monogram sometimes. He also stamped a Cross
in the inside of his instruments as well as used it in his labels. He
made some good Violins, which resemble those of Steiner. His mark in
the inside of the back is here given.

    N. C.

A violin of this make which we have seen, has the great fault of having
the bass bar cut out of the solid, instead of being glued in, thus
contravening the established principles of the art.

CONTRERAS, JOSEPH, Madrid, 1746. An excellent maker, who was
particularly celebrated for his copies of Stradiuarius.


DARDELLI, PIETRO, Mantua, about 1500. Made good rebecs, violas and
viols da gamba. Fetis mentions some of them as still existing.

DECOMBRE, AMBROISE, Tournay, 1700 to 1735, was said to be one of the
pupils of Stradiuarius and made some good instruments of his pattern.

DESPONS, ANTOINE, Paris,--one of the good French Makers, about 1725.


DICKSON, JOHN, Cambridge, 1779.

DIEHL, NICHOLAUS, Darmstadt, 17th Century.

DITTON, ---- London, about 1720.

DODD, THOMAS, Son of Edward Dodd of Sheffield, and who died in London
in 1810, at the great age of 105 years (see Bow Makers). Thomas Dodd's
instruments have had considerable reputation, but it is believed he was
not a maker himself, but employed Bernard Fendt and John Lott, through
whose excellent workmanship his name, which he put on the labels,
became well known.

DODD, THOMAS. Son of the above; he was drowned in 1843.

DOMINISCELLI--Ferrara, 18th Century. A good workman.

DUKE, RICHARD, London, 1767 to 1777. This Artist was very celebrated in
his day and his instruments commanded very good prices. He frequently
stamped his name on the back, but as far as we have seen, only on
inferior productions. Very good instruments may now occasionally be met
with at low prices in consequence of the great prejudice in favour of
the Italian and other foreign makers.

DURFEL, ---- Altenburg, made good double Basses. His violins are also
said by one authority to be excellent in point of tone.

DUIFFOPRUGCAR, GASPARD, born in the Tyrol, established in Bologna in
1510, and went to Paris at the invitation of Francis 1st. He afterwards
removed to Lyons. This appears to be the first maker of the genuine
Violin we have on record, and some instruments still exist to attest
the excellence to which he had reached. M. Vuillaume, possesses a Bass
Viol, and other Parisian Collectors possess instruments by this ancient


EBERLE, JEAN ULRIC, Prague, 1749. Otto says this is one of the most
celebrated German Makers and his instruments have been frequently taken
by experienced connoisseurs for Italian; the difference being that they
"have a sharper or rather not so round and full a tone." Connoisseurs
could not be very experienced at that time, if they could mistake for
Cremonese, instruments possessing this characteristic, which is exactly
what distinguishes the inferior instruments from the genuine.

EBERTI, TOMMASO, about 1730.

EDLINGER, THOMAS, Prague 1715.

EDLINGER, JOSEPH JOACHIM, Prague, son of Thomas. Visited Italy, and
afterwards built some excellent instruments; died in 1748.

ERNST, FRANCOIS ANTOINE, born in Bohemia in 1745. This artiste made
some excellent instruments which are said almost to reach the Cremonas
in tone. He was also the Author of a Treatise on Instruments. The
celebrated Violinist Spohr, author of "the Violin School," is said to
have at one time used one of this maker's instruments.

EVANS, RICHARD London, 1742.


FARINATO, PAUL, Venezia, about 1700.

FENDT, or FINTH, Paris, 1763-80. Made good instruments after the
Stradiuarius model, some of which followed his style so carefully as to
have been taken for those of that master.

FENDT, BERNHARD, born 1775, died 1825. Nephew of the above. He worked
first for Dodd and afterwards for old John Betts. He was a capital
workman and made many fine imitations of the Cremonese instruments.

FENDT, BERNARD SIMON, Son of the above, born 1800, died 1852, became
partner with Purdy in the well known firm of Purdy and Fendt.

FENDT, MARTIN, brother of the above, born 1812, died 1845.

FENDT, JACOB, born 1815, died 1849.


FENDT, WILLIAM, Son of Bernard Simon, born 1833, died 1852.

All the Fendts have the reputation of being excellent workmen.

FICHTOLD, HANS, 1612, is said to have made good instruments.



FLEURY, BENOIST, Paris, about 1720.

FLORENTUS, FLORINUS, Bologna, 1690. Followed the Amati patterns, and
has a good reputation in that style.

FORSTER, WILLIAM. The first Violin maker of this now celebrated name,
born 1713, died 1801.

FORSTER, WILLIAM, born 1739, died 1808. This maker was very celebrated
for his Violas and Violoncellos. He appears to have followed the
Steiner pattern in 1762, and the Amati pattern in 1772. His common
instruments were not purfled, second class purfled but still much
inferior to the third class, "in which," says an authority, "everything
was embodied to conduce to excellence and beautiful appearance and to
the finest tone;" and again, "his instruments are second to none in
merit and the best Europe has ever known, especially his amber coloured
Violoncellos, which are renowned for mellowness, volume, and power of
tone, equalled by few, surpassed by none." We need scarcely say that
this opinion is rather strongly expressed, and may be considered
partial. Without at all detracting from the real excellence of Wm.
Forster's instruments, which is very great, we may confidently assert
that the great Cremona Makers have had no rivals. Whether in power,
purity, and sweetness of tone--or beauty of wood and workmanship--the
best instruments of Nicholas Amati, Antonius Stradiuarius, and Joseph
Guarnerius have never yet been equalled. Wm. Forster's Violoncellos
have, however, (in England at any rate,) been held in high esteem both
by players and amateurs, and have realised good prices.

FORSTER, WILLIAM, the third of the name born 1764, died 1824, known as
young Forster. His instruments are not so good as those of his father,
but still excellent productions.

FORSTER, WILLIAM, the fourth of the name, born 1788, died 1824. A good
workman, but not equal to the second William Forster.

FORSTER, SIMON ANDREW, son of the above, born 1801, author, in
conjunction with William Sandys, F.S.A., of a most elaborate and
excellent work from which these particulars are taken, entitled
"History of the Violin and other Instruments played on with the Bow,
from the remotest times to the present." He is also like the rest of
the family, a maker and bears a good reputation.

FORSTER.--Of this noted family Dubourg in his amusing and interesting
book, "The Violin," speaks in complimentary terms. He says, "The
Forsters, old and young, grandfather and grandson, have, in their
department of art, a name that lives."

FOURRIER, NICHOLAS, born at Mirecourt. Settled in Paris, died 1816;
good maker, after the Cremona school.

FRITZCHE, SAMUEL, Leipsic, 1787, pupil of Hunger, and made similar
instruments. They are of the Italian model and have amber varnish.

FRITZ, BERTHOLD, Leipsic, 1757.

FRANKLAND, ---- London, 1785.

FREY, HANS, Nuremberg, lute maker, 15th Century.

FURBER, DAVID, about 1700.

FURBER, MATTHEW, son of David, 1740.

FURBER, JOHN, grandson of David, 1759.

FURBER, MATTHEW, son of the above, died 1840.

FURBER, JOHN, son of Matthew, 1840.


GABRIELLE, GIOVANNI, BAPTISTA, Florence, 18th Century, considered to be
a good Maker.

GAGLIANO, or GALIANO, ALESSANDRO, Naples, about 1710, is generally
reckoned as one of the pupils of Stradiuarius, but was more probably
only one of his imitators. He made some good instruments of the
Stradiuarius model, which possess a bright and sparkling tone; they
are, however, generally characterised by less power of tone,
Stradiuarius having in this particular the advantage over nearly all
his imitators, some of his personal pupils being perhaps the only

NOTE.--M. Fetis commences the line of the Gaglianos with Nicolo, 1700,
ten years earlier than Alessandro, whom he also calls Gennaro, and
ranks him as a maker formed under one of the immediate pupils of

GAGLIANO, JANUARIUS, Naples, 1740. Son of Alessandro.

GAGLIANO, NICHOLAUS, Naples. Another son of Alessandro.

GAGLIANO, FERDINANDO, Naples, made to 1790.




GAGLIANO, RAPHAEL, Naples, son of Giovanni.

GAGLIANO, ANTONIO, Naples, son of Giovanni.


Most of the instruments made by the Gagliano family possess a good
quality of tone, and Amateurs who have no necessity for that great
power which Stradiuarius and Guarnerius conferred on their best
productions, will do well to secure any genuine Gagliano which they may
meet with, rather than risk the chance of getting less merit, under a
more pretentious name.

GALERZENA, ---- Piedmont, 1790.

GAND, ---- Paris. A first-rate maker. He was son-in-law to Lupot.

GARANA, MICHAEL ANGELO, Bologna. An excellent maker, about 1700,
considered by Fetis to be a pupil of one of those celebrated makers
formed in the Cremona schools.

GATTANANI, ---- Piedmont, 1790.

GAVINIES, ---- Paris, 18th Century.

GEDLER, JOHANN ANTONY, Fissen, Bavaria, 18th Century.

GEDLER, JOHANN BENEDICT, same place and same date.

GERANS, PAUL, Cremona, about 1615.

GERLE, JEAN, Nuremberg, about 1540. Made Lutes, Viols da Gamba, &c.

GILKES, SAMUEL, London, 1787 to 1827. Pupil of the Second William
Forster. An excellent maker. His work was most highly finished and his
varnish of a rich quality.

GILKES, WILLIAM, born 1811. Not equal as a maker to Samuel.

GIORDANE, ALBERTO, Cremona, 1735.

GOBETTI, FRANCISCO, Venezia, about 1700. A pupil of Stradiuarius, and
an excellent artiste.

GOFILLER, MATTEO, Venezia, about 1725. A good maker after Cremona

GOFILLER, FRANCISCO, Venezia. Brother to Matteo, similar, same date.

GRAGNARIUS, ANTONIO, early part of 18th Century.

GRANCINO, GIOVANNI, Milan, middle of 17th Century.

GRANCINO, PAOLO,    do.    do.

GRANCINO, GIOVANNI BAPTISTA, Milan, son of first named.

GRANCINO, GIOVANNI BAPTISTA, Milan, early in 18th Century.

GRANCINO, FRANCISCO, son of Giovanni Baptista. This artiste made to
about 1760, or rather later.


These makers produced some very good but not handsome instruments.
Lindley is said to have had a Violoncello by one of the Grancinos, the
tone of which was very fine and powerful, with light yellow varnish
darkened by age; the wood of back and sides very plain, but the belly
very fine.

GROBITZ, ---- Warsaw, about 1750. Made some good instruments of the
Steiner model.

GUERSAN, ---- Paris. An excellent maker, small model, careful finish,
and fine tone; about 1730.

GUGEMMOS, ---- Fissen, Bavaria.

GUIDANTUS, GIOVANNI FLORENUS, Bologna, about 1750. An excellent maker.

GULETTO, NICHOLAS, Cremona, about 1790.

GUADAGNINI, LORENZO, Cremona, 1690 to 1720. Pupil of Stradiuarius and
highly esteemed as a maker. Followed the style of his celebrated

Guadagnini is one of the makers especially recommended by Spohr when
one of the three great masters cannot be procured. A good specimen of
his work will always command a good price.

GUADAGNINI, LORENZO, Placentia and Milan, 1742. Made instruments
generally of the smaller model. Was a careful workman and finished his
instruments well, and used good varnish.

GUADAGNINI, BAPTISTA. Same places and about same dates, and made
similar instruments.




A more extended account of these great masters will be found in a
separate chapter.

GUARNERIUS, ANDREAS, Cremona, horn 1630, dates to 1680. Pupil of
Hieronymus Amati.

GUARNERIUS, GUISEPPE, son of Andreas, Cremona, dates from 1690 to 1730.

GUARNERIUS, PIETRO, another son of Andreas. Removed in the latter part
of his life from Cremona to Mantua.

GUARNERIUS, JOSEPH, nephew of Andreas. Known as Joseph to distinguish
him from his cousin of the same name, but who is generally known as
Guiseppe. Joseph was the great maker of the family, born 1683, died
1745, at Cremona.


HARBOUR, ---- London, 1785.

HARDIE, MATTHEW, Edinburgh, about 1820. Made some good instruments
which occasionally possessed great power, but not always very neat

HARDIE, THOMAS. Son of Matthew, Edinburgh, was also a good
workman--died in 1856, from accidentally falling down stairs.

HARE, JOSEPH, London, 1720, is said to have been the first in England
to introduce the flat model, all the makers before him and for some
time after, following the elevated model of Steiner. He also introduced
a varnish of greater transparency than was generally used at that time
in England.

HARRIS, CHARLES, London, about 1815.

HARRIS, CHARLES. Son of the above.

HART, JOHN, of Princes Street, Leicester Square, London, pupil of
Samuel Gilkes, is a maker; and restorer of instruments, in which latter
capacity we have pleasure in stating him to be worthy of the extensive
reputation he has acquired. He is also a great connoisseur in old
instruments, and has the honour of having formed most of the fine
collections in this country. The largest price ever given for a Violin
was for one imported by him and which from its beauty, model, varnish
and perfection of condition is known by the name of the King Joseph
Guarnerius. This instrument is considered quite unique and was sold for
700 guineas. The celebrated collection of Charles Plowden, Esq., which
embraces four fine instruments of Stradiuarius and four of Joseph
Guarnerius, and which is acknowledged to be the finest collection in
the world, was also formed by Mr. Hart. Mr. Plowden's taste being
highly cultivated, he rejects any instrument which is not of the very
highest order, and therefore it reflects great credit on Mr. Hart's
judgment to have succeeded in placing so many fine instruments in the
collection of so critical a connoisseur. We shall have occasion to
mention other celebrated instruments in the Chapters on the Great
Masters of the Art.

HASSERT, ---- Rudolstadt, 18th Century. Made instruments of a high
model, which though he used good wood and finished them carefully, did
not possess very good tone. Very few makers have succeeded in imparting
superior tone to high built instruments.

HASSERT, ----, Eisenach, 18th Century, brother of the above--adopted a
different system, and followed the flatter model of the Cremona School
with considerable success. His instruments are remarkable for beautiful
wood, and Otto speaks very highly of them, saying that many of them can
only be distinguished from the genuine Italians by experienced judges.
In the present day we think Otto was partial to his own countrymen's
work, and that there are very few German instruments which can be taken
for Italian by judges.

HEESOM, EDWARD, London, 1750.

HELMER, CHARLES, Prague, 1740. This artiste was a pupil of Eberle, and
is considered a careful workman, but used too light a bass bar, which,
unless a stronger one be substituted, depreciates the character of his

HILDEBRANT, MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER, Hamburg, 1765. Esteemed as a good

HILL, WILLIAM, London, 1740. Made some good instruments, but they are
said to be deficient in quality in consequence of being built on a
wrong principle, the centres having too little wood.

HILL, JOSEPH, London, 1770, brother of the above. Reckoned a superior
maker to his brother, and produced some very excellent Violoncellos
which obtained him a good reputation, and caused him to be classed high
among English makers, but like the others, he is now depreciated in
value below his real merits.

HIRCUTT, ---- English maker, about 1600.

HOFFMAN, MARTIN, Leipsic, is said to be chiefly known as a skilful lute
maker. His Tenors are considered good, and Otto says his violins have
an excellent quality of tone when unspoiled, but are not esteemed on
account of their ungraceful appearance.

HOLLOWAY, J., London, 1794.

HORIL, ---- (Italian) about 1720.

HULLER, AUGUSTINE, Shoeneck, 1775.

HUME, RICHARD, Edinburgh. An early English lute maker; about 1530.

HUNGER, CHRISTOPHER FREDERICK, Leipsic, 1787. A good maker who followed
the Italian style, used good wood and amber varnish. This maker is
classed among the superior German artistes, and his instruments are
said to be beautiful.


JACOBS, ---- Amsterdam, 18th Century. This maker imitated the Amatis
and produced some good instruments after their Models which also
partook of their sweet tone but had little power. One authority we have
consulted calls this maker a pupil of Amati, and states that he used
whalebone purfling.

JAYE, HENRY, London, 1615. Of this maker we have not been able to find
any account unless it be to him that Mace (1676,) refers when he says,
speaking of the makers of Viols, "Of such there are no better in the
world, than those of Aldred, Jay, Smith" &c. He was certainly an
excellent maker judging from an instrument we have seen which has been
converted into a small Violoncello with four strings. It is handsomely
finished, with ornamental purfling and good varnish and a well carved
head. As a small violoncello the tone is also very good. Dated "in
Southwarke," 1615.

JAY, THOMAS, London, about 1700.

JAY, HENRY, London, 1750. It appears that this artiste was best known
as a maker of Kits, which were very well made and for which he obtained
the extraordinary price in those days of five pounds each. When we
remember that four pounds was the price that Stradiuarius got for his
best violins in his life time, and from an anecdote told by Mr.
Forster, that Cervetto could not even get that price for some he got
direct from the maker, we see one of those extraordinary freaks of
fashion for which, to use the expression of my Lord Dundreary, no
fellow can account.

JAUCH, ---- Dresden, about 1765, is said to have made good instruments
on Cremona models, and is generally placed among the good German

JOHNSON, JOHN, London, 1753.




KENNEDY, ALEXANDER, London, died 1785, and considered to be about 90
years of age. This artiste obtained considerable reputation for good
and neat work. He followed the Steiner model, and used yellow varnish.
It is not known that he made any other instruments than violins.

KENNEDY, JOHN, London, died in 1816, and considered to be 86 years of
age. Made violins and tenors of the Steiner model.

KENNEDY, THOMAS, son of John, London, bears the reputation of a good
and neat artiste, and is said to have made at least 300 violoncellos
and other instruments in proportion.

KEKLIN, JOAN, Brescia, about 1450. This artiste is believed by some
inquirers to be the earliest maker of the violin proper, but Fetis says
that the only instrument of his that is known, and which was in the
possession of Koliker of Paris, and dated 1449, was not really a
violin, but a viol with changed neck and mounted with four strings. It
would appear, therefore, that the merit of the actual introduction of
the real violin belongs properly to Gaspar di Salo.

KIAPOSSE, SAWES, Petersburg, 1748.

KLOTZ, MATTHIAS, Tyrolese, about 1675, considered by Fetis to have been
a pupil of Steiner, and the first violin maker of this well known name.
He made some instruments, which established his reputation as a careful

KLOTZ, EGITIA. This maker, who appears to have been a son of Matthias,
is often considered to be the best maker of this Family. He is commonly
called the pupil of Steiner, but that must be doubtful. More probably
he followed the Steiner traditions as exemplified by his father. He
used amber varnish, good wood, and his instruments are well made and
have his own name upon them.

KLOTZ, GEORGE, brother of Egitia.

KLOTZ, SEBASTIAN, another brother. We believe this artiste to be the
best maker of the Klotz family. He built large sized violins, which
possess a fine tone and have excellent varnish.


KLOTZ, JOSEPH, son of Egitia, Mittenwald an der Iser, 1774. Otto says
this artiste built after his father's system--but was better acquainted
with the qualities of wood, and his instruments are therefore superior
in tone, but are badly varnished in their original state.


Spohr enumerates Klotz among the makers whose instruments are worthy of
attention, but does not indicate which of them in particular. We have
before expressed our opinion that Sebastian ranks highest in merit,
which is corroborated by the most experienced connoisseur of the
present day. Some violins of this name have achieved a high reputation.
Parkes, in his "Musical Memoirs," mentions a Klotz Violin belonging to
Mr. Hay, the Leader of the King's Band, for which a Noble Lord offered
£300 and an annuity of £100. This seems a most extraordinary offer, for
any instrument, unless it were a very fine Stradiuarius or Guarnerius.

KOHL, JEAN, Munich, Luthier to the Court, about 1570. Fetis states that
from some old accounts he finds he was paid two florins for a lute, a
strange discrepancy in value from the statement of Mace a century
later.--(See Bolles.)


KOLDITZ, JAQUES, Rumbourg, in Bohemia, 1790; said to be very good.

KOLIKER, ---- Paris, a noted maker and collector, about 1750.

KNITTING, PHILIP, Mittenwald, 1760.

KNITL, JOSEPH, Mittenwald, 1790.

KRINER, JOSEPH, Mittenwald, 1785.


LACASSO, ANTONIO MARIA, Milan, probably the same as Lausa.

LAGETTO, Paris, about 1650. Followed the Amati patterns.


LAMBERT, ---- Nancy, 1760. A prolific but not very careful maker, which
gained him the name of the Lute Carpenter.

LANDOLPHI, CARLO, Florence, 1750. An excellent maker, who followed the
Cremona patterns with considerable success.

LANDOLPHI, FERDINAND, Milan, about same date.

There appears to be some doubt whether there was more than one
Landolphi, his name being Carlo Ferdinand, but being mentioned as of
both Florence and Milan, and the Christian names given separately,
there may have been two. Fetis only mentions Carlo, and locates him at

LAUSA, ANTONIO MARIA, 1675. A capital imitator of Magini and Gaspar di
Salo's instruments, but is said not to have succeeded in rivalling them
in tone.

LAUTTEN, L. W. No particulars of this maker; but we find a violin by
him in a Catalogue, described as "fine and handsome."

LECLERC, ---- Paris, 18th Century.

LENTZ, JOHANN NICHOLAUS, London, about 1800. Considered a good workman.

LEWIS, EDWARD. London, about 1700. An excellent maker, used good wood,
fine varnish, chiefly of a yellow colour, and was notable for his
excellent finish.

LINELLI, or LINAROLLA, ---- Venezia, about 1520. A maker of rebecs,
viols, and viols da gamba.

LOTT, JOHN FREDERICK, London, born 1775, died 1853. An excellent
workman, who made many instruments for Thomas Dodd. He is also very
generally known as a first-rate double bass maker.

LOTT, GEORGE FREDERICK, son of the above, was also an excellent
workman, and is said to have been chiefly employed by dealers.

LOTZ, THEODORE, Prestburg, about 1735, has a good reputation as a maker
of violins.

LUPOT, FRANCOIS, Stuttgard, about 1770.

LUPOT, NICHOLAS, son of Francois, born at Stuttgard, 1758; went to
Orleans, 1786, and Paris, 1794; died 1824. This artiste deserves the
title of the King of the French makers. He followed the model of
Stradiuarius, used excellent wood and good varnish, much in the style
of that master. His violins are very fine in tone and resemble the
Italian more than any other maker's. Tolbecque, the violinist has two
very fine specimens. His instruments have been frequently selected by
the French Conservatoire as prizes for their pupils. They now fetch
high prices. Dubourg calls him "a studious artist, whose instruments
are in request when a good Cremona is unattainable." He also says,
"sixty guineas have been refused for one of his best violins." Spohr in
his "Violin School," also recommends his instruments. This artiste
published a work on the construction of violins, called "La Chelonomie,
on le parfait Luthier."


MAGGINI, GIOVANNI PAOLO, Brescia, 1590 to 1640. This celebrated artiste
was a pupil of Gaspar di Salo. His instruments are highly esteemed, and
are both rare and valuable. They are generally of a large pattern, with
elevated model, reaching almost to the edges; narrow ribs, double
purfling, frequently ending on the top and bottom of the back with an
ornament in the shape of a leaf--and fine yellowish brown or golden
coloured varnish, of good quality. Some few are said to have deep brown
varnish. They possess a tone of a peculiar character--deep, solemn, and
somewhat plaintive. Dubourg describes it as "less soft than that of a
Stradiuarius, and less potent than a Guarnerius, approaching that of a
viol, and has in it a touch of melancholy." From their size these
instruments had not been in great favour with violinists until the
celebrated DeBeriot introduced one, which from its splendid tone
brought them at once into esteem, and for which he has been offered
almost fabulous sums.

MAGGINI, PIETRO SANTO, Brescia, son of Giovanni Paolo, 1630 to 1680.
Followed the same style as his father, but was more particularly famous
for his double basses, which the Italians consider to be the best ever
made, after those of Gaspar di Salo.

MAIER, ANDREA FERDINAND, Salzburg, 1746. Little is known of this maker
except that he made the small instrument on which the immortal Mozart
first learned to play the violin, which event, could he have foreseen,
would no doubt have compensated him for the want of more general fame.

MALDONNER, ---- Bavaria, about 1760.

MALLER, LAUX, Venice. This artiste was an early and highly esteemed
maker of lutes. Mace in his curious and very interesting book, "Music's
Monument," mentions him as one of the best authors, _i.e._ makers. He
also says he has "seen two of his lutes ('pittiful, battered, cracked
Things,') valued at £100 apiece." Mace's book was published in 1676.
Think of £100 for a lute two hundred years ago, when the value of money
was at least six times less than it is now! This would make the
comparative value of a "battered" old lute about £600, a sum (with the
exception of the King Joseph Guarnerius, mentioned elsewhere) exceeding
the highest price we have heard of in modern times. Even the most
splendid and perfect violins of Stradiuarius have never realised as
much as this "pittiful battered lute!" In the face of this fact (as we
suppose it is) we cannot be surprised that enthusiastic amateurs should
in the present day give such large prices for the splendid productions
of the great Cremona Makers.

MARIANI, ANTONIO, Pesaro, 1570 to 1620. An imitator of Gaspar di Salo.

MARATTI, ---- Verona, 1690. Made good toned violins, but the
workmanship has little character.

MARQUIS DE LAIR, ---- A French maker about 1800.

MARSHALL, JOHN, London, 1760.

MARTIN, ---- London, 1790.

MAUCOTEL, CHARLES, London. An excellent workman, who has produced some
beautiful instruments.

MAUSIELL, LEONARD, Nuremburg, 1725. A capital imitator of Steiner,
whose style he followed so closely as to render it (as it is stated)
difficult to distinguish the one from the other. This is one of the
makers praised by Spohr in his "Violin School," as worthy attention
when a good Cremona cannot be got.


MEDARD, HENRY, Paris and Nancy. A French maker, who is generally
considered to have been a pupil of Nicholas Amati, and was esteemed
nearly equal to his master; but Fetis includes him in his list of the
personal pupils of Antonius Stradiuarius.

MERLIN, JOSEPH, London, about 1780. A very ingenious person, who
obtained the honour of being mentioned in Madame D'Arblay's "Diary and
Letters." His violins were after the Steiner pattern, and well made,
but did not approach the Steiner tone.

MEUSIDLER, JEAN, Nuremberg, about 1540. A maker of viols, viols da
gamba, &c.

MEZZADIE, ALEXANDER, Ferrara, about 1700. A good maker who followed the
Amati style, and is reckoned by Fetis as one of that school.

MIER, ---- London, 1786.

MILANI, FRANCISCO, Milan, is supposed to be a pupil of Guadagnini and
followed his style,--about 1760.

MILLER, ---- London, about 1750.

MOHR, PHILIP, Hamburg, 1650.

MONTADE, GREGORIO, Cremona, 1735. Considered to be a pupil of
Stradiuarius, but more probably an imitator.

MONTAGNANA, DOMINICO, Venezia, 1725. This excellent artiste made
instruments generally of a large size, and used wood of a large and
beautiful figure. The varnish exceedingly brilliant and of a rich
yellow or yellow red colour, and the tone everything that can be
desired. Mr. Perkins had a violoncello of this make, which was
originally sold as a Joseph Guarnerius, and was said in the catalogue
to be uncommonly fine and handsome. This is another of those careful
artistes, whose productions are now in high esteem when one of the
three great masters cannot be obtained, and which will very probably
hereafter rank with them and become very famous.

MORRISON, JOHN, London, 1780 to 1819.

MORELLA, MORGLATO, Mantua, about 1550. Famous for rebecs, viols, and
viols da gamba.


NAMY, ---- Paris, about 1800.

NAYLOR, ISAAC, Leeds, 1788.


NICHOLAS, ---- Geneva, 1790.

NIGGEL, SYMPERTUS, Paris, about 1650.

NORMAN, BARAK, London, 1690 to 1740. He generally used a monogram
formed of the letters NB. interlaced. This artiste has long been a
favourite, and he certainly made some good instruments, which in the
present day are depreciated below their real worth, as is the case also
with other English makers, whose productions have had to give way
before the prevailing preference for Italian instruments. He was
partner at one time with Nathaniel Cross, and the instruments then made
bear their joint names on the labels.

NORRIS AND BARNES, pupils of Thomas Smith, 1785 to 1818.

NOVELLO, VALENTINO, Venezia, about the middle of 18th Century.

NOVELLO, MARCO ANTONIO, Venezia, same date. Both these makers are in
good esteem.



ODOARDI, GUISEPPE, early 18th Century.

OTT, JEAN, Nuremberg. Lute maker, 15th Century.

OTTO, JACOB AUGUSTUS, born at Gotha, 1762, died 1830. Author of the
celebrated Book on the Construction of the Violin. He made some good
instruments which, in his book he says he "proved" by a machine which
played them in thirds, fourths, and fifths for a continued period, thus
mellowing and perfecting the tone. We do not believe in this doctrine.
From all past experience, there can be no doubt that whatever pains or
trouble a maker may take to bring his instruments, while new, to bear
the character of old, his labour is quite useless. There is no instance
of an instrument becoming famous for its fine tone till it had attained
a good old age. Some modern makers use chemical means to mature their
violins; but this process is utterly destructive to them, as they
become quite rotten through the action of the acid after a lapse of
years. Time alone can ripen and mellow all musical instruments made of
wood, the violin and the organ especially.


PANORMO, VINCENZIO, born near Palermo, 1734. He appears to have left
his native place, and after a temporary sojourn in several towns came
to England about 1772, and died in 1813. He was an excellent artiste.
His instruments are carefully constructed on Cremona models, and
possess a fine tone. He made a few violoncellos which are highly
prized, their tone being extremely rich and powerful. They are of the
Stradiuarius pattern, mostly of handsome maple for the back and ribs.
All his instruments are of a good Italian quality of tone, and are
among those which are rising in value as the great masters become rarer
and dearer.

PANORMO, JOSEPH, son of Vincenzio, also a good workman.

PANORMO, GEORGE LEWIS, another son of Vincenzio, a celebrated bow

PANORMO, Edward.

PANORMO, GEORGE, probably grandson of Vincenzio.

PAMPHILON, EDWARD, London, 1685. A very clever artiste. Made violins of
rather small model, somewhat high built, rich yellow varnish, and
sometimes double purfled. The Editor has known one of his instruments,
which was in the hands of a rich amateur, in whose house he has heard
it played and very much approved.


PARKER, DANIEL, London, 1714, is considered one of the good old English
makers. His instruments have a clear and powerful tone. A first-rate
authority calls him an excellent workman; another says though he was
otherwise good he used a bad brick red varnish.

PASTA, GAETANO, Brescia, early in 18th Century.

PASTA, DOMINICO, Brescia, same date. Said to have followed the Amati
patterns, and deserted the Brescian standard of Gaspar di Salo and

PEARCE, JAMES and THOMAS, London, 1780.

PEMBERTON, J., London, 1580. An English maker of considerable talent.
Is supposed to have been the maker of the instrument presented by Queen
Elizabeth to the Earl of Leicester.



PICHOL, ---- Paris.

PIQUE, ---- Paris. An excellent maker, and the master of Lupot. Spohr
recommends Pique's instruments, and Dubourg says they were given as
prizes by the French Conservatoire in the beginning of the present

PIERRAY, or PIERRET, CLAUDE, Paris. A charming workman. His violins
have been frequently mistaken for Italian by inexperienced judges. They
are of a deep red colour and finely finished, with an excellent quality
of tone.

PIETE, NOEL, Paris, about 1785, pupil of Saunier. An artiste well
spoken of.

PLACK, FRANCIS, Schoenback, 1738. Considered a good maker.


PONS, ---- Grenoble, France, 1787. Made large pattern violins with high
model, which have no great value.

POSSEN, LAUXMIN, Bavaria, about 1540. Made rebecs, viols, and viols da

POWELL, ROYAL and THOMAS, London, 1785.

PRESTON, JOHN, York, 1789.


RACCERIS, ---- Mantua, 1670, believed to have been a partner with one
of the Gaglianos, and made similar instruments.

RAF, ---- Bavaria.

RAMBEAUX, ---- Paris, a pupil of Gand, and an excellent workman.

RAPHAEL, NELLA, Brescia, 18th Century. This artiste was of the school
of Maggini, and his instruments are said to have the scrolls
sculptured, and to have inscriptions on the sides.

RAUCH, JAQUES, Mannheim, 1730 to 1740. Considered to be a very good

RAUCH, SEBASTIAN, 1742 to 1763.

RAUCH, ---- Breslau.

RAUCH, ---- Wurtzburg.

Otto praises the instruments of the two brothers of Breslau and
Wurtzburg. He says they are excellent violins but have a shape and
model peculiar to themselves and entirely different to the Italian or
Steiners, but possess when uninjured a full, round and powerful tone.
If Otto had told us what instruments were like instead of what they
were not like, his book would have been more valuable.

RAUT, JEAN, Bretagne. He was at Rennes till 1790. Made good instruments
after the Guarnerius school.

RAYMAN, JACOB, London, 1641. The instruments of this maker were very
highly valued formerly. He is considered one of our best old English

REICHEL, JOHANN GOTTFRIED, Absom. An imitator of Steiner.


REISS, ---- Bamburg. A capital imitator of Steiner, and made excellent

REMY, ---- Paris.

RENISTO, ---- Cremona, 1740, pupil of Carlo Bergonzi. His instruments
are very similar to those of his master, but rather higher modelled,
and the workmanship somewhat rougher.

RETANTINO, ---- No particulars of this maker.


ROOK, JOSEPH, London, 1777 to 1852. A good workman, who imitated

ROSS, JOHN, 1562. An early maker of lutes.

ROTH, CHRISTIAN, Augsburg, 1675.

ROVELIN, ---- 18th Century.

RUDGER, ---- Cremona--not one of the Ruggeri Family. Made some good
instruments of the high build, and deep sides, and used fine varnish.

RUGGERI, FRANCISCO, Cremona, 1640 to 1684. This celebrated maker is
considered to have been a pupil of Antonius Amati, and made many
excellent instruments which bear a high reputation. They rank next to
the Amati. Their quality is similar, and the style of work is easily
seen to belong to the same class. There are a few violins by this maker
of the same pattern as the Grand Amatis, which are said to surpass the
latter, having more wood in them, which was detrimental when they were
made, but which age has mellowed, and they now possess a strong and
free vibration. Many of the Ruggeris have varnish little inferior to
that of Stradiuarius and Guarnerius. This artiste ranks highest in the
family in the estimation of the connoisseur. His work is extremely
clean. The next is Giovanni Baptista, rather higher built and sound
holes rather broader. The scrolls are larger than those of Amati but of
the same type, There are many splendid violoncellos of these makers and
a few tenors. Some of the former are very large. Francisco Ruggeri is
mentioned by Spohr in his list of instruments to be sought for in the
absence of the three great makers, Nicholas Amati, Antonio Stradiuarius
and Joseph Guarnerius.

RUGGERI, GUIDO, Cremona, 1679.

RUGGERI, GIOVANNI BAPTISTA, son of Francisco. Brescia, 1690. Mentioned

RUGGERI, PIETRO GIACOMO. Brescia 1700 to 1720. The celebrated
violoncellist Piatti plays on an instrument by this maker, and the tone
is uncommonly fine and sonorous as all who have heard him know.

RUGGERI, VINCENZIO, Cremona, 1700 to 1730.

RUPPERT, FRANCIS, Erfruth, made some excellent instruments of a very
flat model, but generally omitted the linings and corner blocks as well
us the purfling. They are nevertheless esteemed in Germany. They have a
dark brown amber varnish.


SAINT, PAUL. Paris, about 1650. An excellent French maker.

SALO, GASPAR DI, Brescia, dates from 1560 to 1610. This celebrated
artiste was the contemporary of the ancient Amatis, and is thought by
some connoisseurs to have been the master of Andrew. However that may
be, as there can be no certainty of the fact, the varnish on which the
great Cremonese makers established that notable reputation which
distinguishes them to the present day, bears a strong analogy to that
of Gaspar di Salo, however they may have derived it. In this respect,
also, Gaspar excels Maggini, his pupil and follower, who was evidently
not initiated into the secret of making that excellent varnish which
characterises his master.

The pattern of the instruments which the two early and famous chiefs of
the Cremonese and Brescian Schools built, is however totally different.
Those of Gaspar are large, massive, double purfled, and with large
sound holes. Andrew is noted for a small pattern, and if he studied in
the Brescian workshop, he discarded the style he found there (varnish
excepted) and aimed at altogether a different object in his own
productions. Those of Gaspar di Salo are constructed with capacity and
strength to produce a considerable volume of tone. The Cremonese
Artiste on the other hand, made instruments which, both in their
proportions and adjustment, were especially adapted for the production
of a sweet but not powerful tone. Gaspar's instruments seem to
foreshadow in their tone and power, those of Stradiuarius and Joseph
Guarnerius, while the Amatis seem generally to have been contented with
producing a tone of surpassing sweetness. Gaspar also succeeded in
giving to his productions that fine tone which seems to have been
especially aimed at by the early makers, but as he also from the size
and strength of his instruments, produced more tone, he may be
considered far the superior of Andrew, the first of the Amatis. It is
on this account that in the present day, Gaspar di Salo is esteemed as
the greatest maker of his time, and connoisseurs value his instruments

There are not many violins by this great master, but of tenors and
double basses more. These are very fine and rich in tone. He was not
however famous for giving so very high a finish to his works as was
afterwards attained at Cremona. His violins are described as rather
long, and with a gentle elevation from the sides to the centre. The
sound holes straight and large, well cut and parallel, and double
purfling. The varnish is generally of a rich brown. These are the chief
external characteristics, but they have always possessed that "which
passeth show," and commanded the esteem of the dilettanti in that rich
quality of tone which is the first essential in a perfect instrument.

Signor Dragonetti, the greatest double bass player of our day, used one
of Gaspar's instruments, which was presented to him on account of their
admiration of his wonderful talent, by the order of the Convent of St.
Mark at Venice. Shortly before his death the Duke of Leinster offered
him £700 for it, a princely sum, but it was refused, as Dragonetti did
not feel justified in parting with it, and he ordered in his will that
it should be returned to the convent at Venice, which was accordingly
done. Ole Bull has a very celebrated violin of Gaspar's make. In the
first place, it was sculptured with Caryatides, by the great Florentine
artist, Benvenuto Cellini, at the special command of another eminent
person, Cardinal Aldobrandini, who presented it to the museum of
Inspruck in the Tyrol. In 1809 that city was assaulted by the French,
the museum was plundered, and this violin carried to Vienna, where it
became the property of another notable person, the Councillor Rehazek,
who was famous for his collection of ancient musical instruments. He
left it by will to another still more celebrated person, Ole Bull, the
distinguished Norwegian violinist, by whom it was exhibited in London
in 1862, and with whom it still remains. To our description of Gaspar's
instruments we should add that his tenors and double basses are of a
rather broader form than his violins.

SALLE, ---- Paris, 1800. This artiste was an excellent workman, and
famous also as a judge of old instruments.


SANTI, GIOVANNI, Naples, 1730.

SANCTUS SERAPHINO, Venezia, about 1730. An excellent workman, whose
instruments possess almost the beautiful finish of Stradiuarius. He
used handsome wood of small figure, and his varnish is often beautiful
in the extreme. The model however approaches that of the Steiner
school, and the tone is therefore generally wanting in fullness and
roundness. He made also a few violoncellos with similar

SAPINO, ---- Cremona. Pupil of Guiseppe Cappa, made instruments after
the style of the Amati.

SANZO SANTINO, ---- Milan.

SAUNIER, ---- born in Lorraine 1740. An excellent artiste whose
instruments are reckoned among the best of the French school.

SCHEINLEIN, MATTHIAS FREDERICK, Langenfeld, born 1710, died 1771.

SCHEINLEIN, JEAN MICHAEL, Langenfeld, born 1751. Made instruments which
are said to be good but not strongly built.

SCHMIDT, ---- Cassel, mentioned by Otto as living in 1817, and praised
by him as an excellent maker. His instruments are of the flat model of
Stradiuarius but have the edges larger and the purfling further from
the sides.

SCHONGER, FRANCIS, Erfurth, made high modelled instruments, but of poor

SCHONGER, GEORGE, Erfurth, son of the above, modelled his instruments
in the Italian style and produced some very superior examples.

SCHORN, JACOB, Salzbourg.

SCHORN, JOHANN, Inspruck, 1688.


SHAW, ---- London, 1656.

SIMPSON, JOHN, London, 1790.

SIMPSON, J. and J., son of the above.

SIMON, ---- Salzbourg, 1722.

SIMON, ---- Paris.

SMITH, HENRY, London, 1629. This may be a celebrated maker of viols,
&c., mentioned by Mace, 1676, as one of the best then known.

SMITH, THOMAS, London, 1756 to 1799. This well known maker was a pupil
of Peter Wamsley. His violoncellos are of the Steiner model, and some
of them possess considerable power, and were formerly highly esteemed,
but they are now considered to be deficient in quality and wanting in
the rich fine tone of the Italian artistes. Notwithstanding, they are
still favourites in the country; the editor knows two of his
violoncellos which have been respectively sold for £30 and £40 within a
few years.

SMITH, WILLIAM, London, 1771.

SOLOMON, ---- pupil of Bocquay, a good French artiste.

SPEILER, ---- 18th Century.


STADELMANS, JOHANN JOSEPH, Vienna, 1784. Fame speaks very highly of
this maker, who closely imitated Jacob Steiner and ranks next to him
among the German makers.

STEINER, JACOB, of Absom in the Tyrol, born about 1620, date of death
not known, but at about the age of seventy retired to a Convent.

    See separate chapter on this celebrated artiste.


STORIONI, LORENZO, Cremona, living in 1782, said to be the last of the
great Cremona makers. Forster says his instruments resemble those of
Joseph Guarnerius, and that Vieuxtemps' solo violin in 1861, was by
this master, and was very much admired. His violoncellos are very
powerful. The author knows a violin which an authority says is by
Storioni, but which the owner considered to be by Antonius and
Hieronymus Amati. The same authority says there are only two in England
of this make. It possesses a splendid fine full and rich tone,
beautiful wood for the belly, but the back rather plain, varnish deep
yellow with reddish tinge. Workmanship not very fine. We mention those
little known artistes' instruments when we have seen them, because they
are now rising in value and are esteemed as likely to afford good
instruments to those who cannot afford those of the three great

STRADIUARIUS, ANTONIUS, Cremona, born 1644, died 1737.

    See separate chapter for a fuller account of this celebrated

STRADIUARIUS, HOMOBONO, Cremona, son of Antonius; made instruments
under the direction of his father, which were signed "_Sub disciplina
A. Stradiuarius._"

STRADIUARIUS, FRANCISCO, Cremona, another son of Antonius, and signed
in the same manner as his brother.

STRAUBE, ---- Berlin, 1770. Constructed after the Italian model. His
instruments are scarce and good.

STRNAD, GASPAR, Prague, 1781 to 1793. This maker bears a good




TAYLOR, ---- London, 1770 to 1820.

TECHLER, DAVID, first established himself at Salzburg, and afterwards
went to Venice, where the story goes that he was so persecuted by other
makers that he fled to Rome, about 1706. He made some excellent and
beautiful instruments. They have fine yellow varnish and resemble those
of the Tyrolean school of Albani and others. Lindley had a violoncello
by this maker which was very fine, and powerful in tone. Another was
sold a few years ago by auction, for £50. We have seen a violin of this
maker, with very beautiful wood and highly finished workmanship, the
tone of which was very pure and polished.

TENZEL, ---- One of our catalogues contains a violin by this maker, but
we have no particulars.

TEODITI, JEROME, Rome, 1750.

TESTATOR, IL VECCHIO, Milan, about 1520. A claim has been made for
this maker that he was the first to give the name of violino to the
reduced viol.

TERRESIO, ---- An Italian who died in 1853, was a most eminent judge of
instruments. His whole existence seemed to be centered in his art, and
his eye became so practised that when travelling to discover old
instruments, he took them all to pieces, sides, backs, heads, and all
parts, forming a conglomerate mass of pieces of valuable violins. The
object of so doing was to avoid the customs' dues which are of course
heavy on old instruments. When he reached his destination, he would
replace them without the aid of a single mark. After his death his
house, or rather his hermitage, was visited by connoisseurs, who found
it strewed with different parts of instruments, some being found in the
most out of the way places. He had the major part of all the great
instruments through his hands. Among other valuable instruments found
in his house after his death, was a Gaspar di Salo double bass and a
Bergonzi double bass--the latter unique. Both these instruments are now
in Mr. Hart's possession. The Gaspar di Salo is very perfect and its
tone is unsurpassed. The Bergonzi is quite a curiosity, from its being
the only one of his make known. He visited this country during the
Exhibition of 1851, and was deeply gratified upon seeing so many high
class instruments among the dilettanti here, and the taste and zest the
English have in forming collections.

TESTORE, CARLO GUISEPPE, Cremona, about 1700. This artiste made some
very good instruments after the Guarnerius pattern. The wood of the
backs of his violoncellos is mostly pear tree, and the bellies are of
splendid wood. The tone is very powerful, but not always so smooth as
might be wished. This is another rising name. The celebrated double
bass player Bottesini, uses one of this maker's instruments which
possesses a splendid tone, and is sufficient to stamp Testore as an
excellent maker. If any of his smaller instruments possess as good and
fine a tone as this double bass he must be ranked among the best
Italian artistes. Use will probably wear away the want of smoothness at
present complained of in some of them.

TESTORE, CARLO ANTONIO, Milan, about 1710 to 1730.

TESTORE, PAOLO ANTONIO, Milan, about 1720 to 1740. Both the above have
the reputation of being good makers. Of these artistes we have a note
which states that their model was flat, resembling Joseph Guarnerius in
shape, but the varnish very inferior and void of colour.

THOROWGOOD. HENRY, London, the 18th Century.

TOBIN, ---- London, 1800 to 1836. This maker cut most beautiful heads,
and his work was neatness in the extreme, so much so indeed as to rob
it of decided character.





We have no special information on these makers, but they are generally
ranked among the good Italian makers.

TONONI, CARLO, Venezia, 1699

TONONI, GIOVANNI, Venezia, 1699. The instruments by Tononi are worthy
of the highest praise. They are however very scarce. They are of the
large pattern, and flat model, with good varnish, and everything about
them, including a superior tone, to entitle them to be ranked as
excellent instruments.

TORING, ---- London.

TRUNCO, ---- Cremona, 1660.


URQUART, THOMAS, London, 1650. An excellent old English maker. He used
beautiful varnish (for English) and made many small violins which are
useful to young players, being old and the price reasonable.


VALLER, ---- Marseilles, 1683.

VERON, ---- Paris, about 1725. Highly esteemed in France.

VIARD, NICHOLAS, Versailles, about 1730.

VIBRECHT, GYSBERT, Amsterdam, 1707.

VIMERCATI, PAULO, Venezia, 1700.


VUILLAUME, JEAN, 1700 to 1740. Worked with Straduarius, and made some
good instruments under his own name.

VUILLAUME, JEAN BAPTISTE, Paris. Now living. Famous for his copies of
Cremonese instruments. This artiste obtained by personal researches in
Cremona the particulars of the life of Stradiuarius, which Fetis has
embodied in his book.


WAGNER, JOSEPH, Constance, 1733.

WAMSLEY, PETER, London, 1727. A celebrated artiste, who made many
excellent instruments. Those with the dark brown varnish are the most
valuable. They were mostly of the Steiner patterns. Mr. J. Rodgers,
organist of Doncaster Parish Church, has a very beautiful tenor by this
maker, which is built in the shape of a double bass, and with very
peculiar sound holes instead of the usual S S.


WEISS, JACOB, Salzburg, 1761.


WEYMANN, CORNELIUS, Amsterdam, 1682.


WITHALM, LEOPOLD, Nuremberg, 1765 to 1788. Otto says this maker's
instruments are worthy the attention of the virtuoso, and are extremely
like those of Steiner, and difficult to distinguish from them.

WISE, CHRISTOPHER, London, 1656.

WORNUM, ---- London, 1794.

WRIGHT, DANIEL, London, 1745.


YOUNGE, JOHN, London, 1724.


ZANETTO, PEREGRINO, Brescia, about 1540. A maker of rebecs, violas, and
viols da gamba.

ZANTI, ALESSANDRO, Mantua, about 1770. Reckoned among the good Italian


It will not be considered out of place in the course of a biographical
account of the principal makers of violins, to give a short notice of
some eminent persons without whose labours, the violin itself would
never have been developed as it has been, to wit, violin bow makers.
Much of the elegant finish and refinement of tone and style which
distinguish the great players of the violin, if not due altogether to
the bow, by which the tone is produced, is at all events greatly aided
by it. A Paganini will have a Tourte bow, and so will every other great
master, if he can get one. There must be something therefore in the
bow, as well as in the violin, more than meets the eye of a casual
observer. We have not here space to enter into the subtle niceties
which distinguish the bows of Tourte of France, of Dodd of England, and
others. Suffice it to say that whoever boasts of an excellent violin
should match it with a superior bow. One is incomplete without the
other. There are many excellent makers, but we must content ourselves
with briefly noticing the most prominent. Suffice it to say in the way
of advice and warning that whether the amateur buy an old or a new bow,
let him see that its flexibility, which is its great merit, is perfect,
and that it is still strong though light and straight. Mr. Bishop in
his edition of Otto says the finest bows are those of Vuillaume! He
does not even mention any others. Tourte and Dodd do not deem to be
worthy his remembrance! There must be nevertheless something in the
bows of these makers which commands great respect, for any performer of
skill will give (if he can get one, that is the difficulty,) ten or
twelve times the amount for a perfect Tourte, which will buy a
Vuillaume! There is no doubt that Vuillaume manufactures good bows--but
to rank them highest is so palpable a misrepresentation that we have
thought it necessary to enter a protest against it.

TOURTE, FRANCIS, Paris, born 1747, died 1835. This is conceded, by all
the best judges, to be the greatest maker we have ever known, in fact
the Stradiuarius of the bow. His father and grandfather were
instrumental in improving the bow, but Francis Tourte brought it to the
greatest perfection. His bows are light and flexible, yet straight.
They are highly finished and made of the finest Brazil wood. He himself
sold his bows mounted with gold, at 12 louis, (£11 4s. 6d.) each; with
silver 3-1/2 louis (£3 5s. 6d.) It is said the reason of his charging
so much was that he found so great a difficulty in getting wood fine
enough to satisfy his critical judgment, and that he also made no
scruple to break any which did not reach his standard of perfection; he
was therefore compelled to charge those sums for such as he permitted
to go forth. Whoever wishes to match his cherished Cremona with an
equally fine bow will get a Tourte if he can.

LUPOT, of Paris, was another excellent maker. His bows are not quite so
light as those of Tourte, but they are in all other respects highly

DODD, EDWARD, born at Sheffield, and died in London, at the age of 105
years, in 1810, was distinguished as an improver of the bow in England,
about the same time that the Tourtes were founding their great
reputation in France. The great maker of this name, however, and who
has achieved the honourable title of the Tourte of England, is

DODD, JOHN, the son of Edward. The best bows of this maker are highly
esteemed, and partake of all the excellencies of those of Tourte. Some
of them, however, are rather short, which is perhaps their only defect.

After these come the bows of Panormo, Pecatte, Tubbs, Vuillaume, and
other English and Foreign artistes, whose best bows are much esteemed.

As between old and new bows, we would observe that in general modern
bows are nearly us useless as new violins. The wood of which most of
them are made is very inferior to that of the older artistes, and there
is always a doubt whether they will stand continued use and remain
straight and flexible. With an old bow, if it is straight, there is no
fear, with ordinary care, of its remaining so. A good bow is as
important as a good violin.



Cremona! Who has not heard of this now celebrated Italian city? And yet
but for a fiddle maker it is very probable indeed that it would never
have been known beyond the circle of its own local interests and its
relations with neighbouring cities. Now, however, its name is a spell
to conjure with. A Cremona Violin is, to a rich amateur, a loadstone
that is sure to attract the shining metal from the depths of his purse.
Seven hundred pounds have been given for a Guarnerius Violin! Think of
that ye dilettanti who are so proud of your pictures and marbles! Even
the poor fiddler has his Mecca far away, and it is called Cremona. Like
pictures, the Cremona Violins are real works of art, and like them
also, were once to be had for trifling sums. Cuyps and Paul Potters,
Stradiuarii and Guarnerii were once to be had for three or four pounds
each that are now worth as many hundreds. A Cremona instrument has even
been considered a worthy gift to pass between crowned heads, Pope Pius
V. having presented a violoncello by Andreas Amati to Charles IX. of
France. Fleeting however are the honours of time! Cremona has lost its
most famous names from among its citizens, and with them its most
distinguished characteristic. For nearly a hundred years no maker of
great skill has arisen to dispute the glory of the place with the
Amati, Stradiuarius, and Guarnerius, by whom the fame of Cremona will
be carried to the latest generations.

It is now about three centuries since there flourished at Cremona its
first great violin maker. Andreas Amati appears to have been born there
in 1520, and died in 1580. The family was an ancient one, and is
mentioned as early as 1097 in the records of the city. It is a
remarkable fact, and shows in a strong light the difference of manners
and customs in different countries that both Amati and Stradiuarius
seem to have been of ancient and honourable families, and yet
notwithstanding their adopting an avocation which would in England be
thought to tarnish an old family name, they lived and died respected
and honoured by their fellow citizens. There is no account of how or of
whom Andrew Amati acquired the art of violin making; but it is clear
that by some means he had attained to a considerable amount of skill.
Under the head of Gaspar di Salo, we have however hazarded a conjecture
that he had been to Brescia for the first principles of the art, but
that he had adopted little that he found there except the varnish and
the general routine of the workshop. Some of his instruments are
described as beautifully made, and to have amber varnish of excellent
quality of a deep rich yellow tinted with brown or light red colour.
His violins appear to have been chiefly of the small pattern and high
model. The backs are mostly cut the reverse way of the grain to the
present rule, forming what are now termed "slab" backs. They possess a
delicate graceful tone of wonderful sweetness, which has also been more
or less the chief characteristic of the other makers of this family.
With reference to this peculiarity, an eminent writer observes that in
the times in which the Amati lived, the tone was not required to be of
that powerful character which modern players demand, and that such an
immense tone as many later instruments possess would not then have been
tolerated. This is very probable, and may account also for the elevated
model which was adopted both by Andrew and some others of the Amati.
This model conjoined with their beautiful workmanship and generally
small size, combined to produce that elegant delicious sweet tone which
of all other makers, the Amatis especially possess. They also, all of
them, made a greater number of instruments of the smaller size than
what is known as the grand pattern, no doubt because the tone produced
by them was found generally sufficient. They were also made to carry a
much lower bridge and a lighter bass bar than are now used, and the
proportions were arranged accordingly. On this point M. Maugin, author
of a Treatise, entitled Manuel du Luthier, makes some remarks which we
have translated as pertinent and valuable. Speaking on the subject of
repairing old instruments, he says, "There is no violin maker now, who
does not put, whether in the instruments he has to repair, or in those
which he makes, a much stronger bar than those which were employed by
the great makers themselves. They must have felt the necessity of doing
this or they would not all act in this way. Now what is the reason of
this mode of working? I have seen in the hands of rich amateurs,
several instruments which have been preserved with a religious care,
absolutely in the form which Amati and Stradiuarius had given to them.
The bridges of these violins had only an inch and a fraction of height
above the belly, while now-adays bridges have a height of an inch and
(say) three-eighths. Now, the belly being put into vibration by strings
at a great distance from it, and these strings vibrating by themselves
more at the distance of fourteen lines than at twelve, it has been
found necessary to strengthen the bar which, without that, being drawn
into too great a vibration, would give to the strings sol and re a
cottony sound which would have quite spoiled the goodness of the
instrument." M. Maugin does not say why higher bridges are now used,
but there is no doubt on this point. All judges concur that the pitch
having been so greatly raised since the old instruments were built, a
stronger bar has been found necessary, to counterbalance the increased
tension of the higher bridge.

Andrew Amati gave to his instruments a still more decided swell than
the later members of his family, his successors no doubt finding a
diminution in the rise of the model to produce a fuller if not a
sweeter tone. This principle was gradually carried forward till it
culminated in Antonius Stradiuarius, who brought it to perfection and
demonstrated that the flat model produced the greatest vibration and
consequently the most powerful tone. Otto in his celebrated work on the
Construction of the Violin, does not mention Andrew Amati, but says
that those of Hieronymus were the oldest Cremona Violins. This is one
of the mistakes in his original work which renders it comparatively
useless. Connoisseurs and collectors have dissipated those errors, and
we now know to a certainty that to Andrew Amati of Cremona, and Gaspar
di Salo of Brescia, (of whom also Otto was ignorant,) we owe the
establishment of these two great schools of violin making. From their
great age, the instruments of these two great makers are now very rare.
They are most of them about three centuries old, and though they appear
to have made a considerable number, they have through the influences of
time and accident gradually disappeared. Some of Andrew Amati's
instruments are still left however in the hands of dilettanti and
collectors, and retain that distinguishing characteristic of delicious
and sympathetic quality which has been the chief charm of all the Amati
productions. Andrew had a brother called NICHOLAS, of whom little
appears to be known.

After ANDREW, as great makers, come his two sons ANTONIUS and
HIERONYMUS, who flourished from 1550 to 1634. ANTONIUS made many small
pattern violins, which possess in the highest degree the distinguishing
characteristic of the family--a sweet but not powerful tone. He also
constructed some of a larger pattern. ANTONIUS and HIERONYMUS
conjointly built a number of large pattern violins, which are of high
finish and beautiful wood. They are very highly esteemed, and a well
preserved example will command a large price. NICHOLAS was the greatest
artiste of this deservedly celebrated family, and many instruments
still exist to attest the excellence of his workmanship and his
knowledge of the proportions requisite to produce a fine tone. He also
built many small pattern instruments, but he appears to have almost
anticipated Stradiuarius and succeeded in producing some instruments of
the grand pattern which possess a very powerful as well as sweet tone,
and are considered to rival in every respect the famous instruments of
that great master. Some of his violins possess a distinguishing mark in
a rather abrupt rise in the centre. Otto describes it as a "sharp
ridge." It is not exactly so, but is still very different to the
gradual swell on the other Cremona instruments. His best violins, which
are known by the title of Grand Amatis, are those which approximate
closely to the very best instruments of Stradiuarius and Guarnerius.
There can be no doubt therefore, that in these fine specimens of his
skill, he had hit upon the same principles which afterwards guided
those distinguished artistes in the construction of those most renowned
violins which now command the admiration of violinists throughout the

We have said that the chief characteristic of the Amati violins is a
sweet but not powerful tone. It is necessary to qualify and explain
this remark. From their excellent construction and beautiful wood,
which has evidently been selected with the greatest care for its
resonant quality--their age and long and careful use, their tone is
divested of all extraneous properties, and become fine and pure.
Notwithstanding therefore their original small tone, when fitted with
the modern appliances of larger bars and higher bridges, some have been
found quite competent for all purposes. In 1861 the celebrated
instrument by Antonius Amati, which was presented by George IV. to
Francois Cramer, was sold by auction, and it was stated in the
catalogue that that great performer always led the Ancient and other
concerts on that instrument. The fact no doubt is that it is the fine
and pure quality of tone that tells, arising from age, constant use,
and beautiful woods. They seem to be now divested of all extraneous
characteristics and are become refined and ethereal, and are in fact
the nightingales of the stringed tribe. That the Stradiuarius and
Guarnerius have equal quality combined with more power arising from
their flatter model is undoubted, and therefore they are the most
valued. It is believed that the finest specimen of the skill of
Nicholas Amati is in the possession of Ole Bull. It is of the large
pattern, and possesses a magnificent tone, as many of our readers have
no doubt heard.

We think we shall please our readers by inserting verbatim the
following excellent description of the Amati instruments, furnished to
us by an able and experienced connoisseur. He says:--

"NICHOLAS AMATI and the BROTHERS AMATI. The tone is with few exceptions
sweet in quality and seldom powerful, but admirably suited to the
amateur. The workmanship is of the highest order, which conduces to
this result. The wood must have been selected with great judgment. The
bellies are nearly always of a fine reedy nature. Sometimes the backs
are whole backs (in one piece), at others in two, more often the
latter. The varnish of a beautiful amber colour, and there are a few
instances of fine red. The sides generally rather shallow, heads of
exquisite form and well defined. The care bestowed upon them alone
bespeaks the hand of the artist. There are several magnificent tenors
and violoncellos, and perhaps three or four double basses. The tenors
are sometimes seen of large size. The Amati family made several sets of
instruments for foreign courts, which bear their particular arms,
mostly beautifully painted on the backs. The violins known as Grand
Amatis are the best, and were made by Nicholas Amati. They take their
name from their size. He also made many long pattern instruments, and
also several three quarter violins, which have conferred a great boon
upon juvenile violinists who are able to purchase them, by giving them
an opportunity of early becoming familiar with the irreproachable
Italian quality of tone."

In reference to the remark made in the preceding paragraph, it is
recorded that a set of instruments, no doubt one of those therein
alluded to, was made for Charles 9th of France by Andrew Amati,
consisting of twenty-four violins, six violas, and eight basses. These
were lost from Versailles in 1790, and have not been recovered, except
two which M. Cartier discovered some years since. Notwithstanding that
Andrew Amati was the first maker of any note, except Gaspar di Salo of
Brescia, it is clear that he had attained an astonishing amount of
skill, as there is an account of a violoncello which was offered by
auction at the sale of the celebrated Sir Wm. Curtis's instruments by
Mr. Musgrave, who in the catalogue stated that "a document was given to
the proprietor when he purchased this instrument, stating that it was
presented by Pope Pius 5th to Charles 9th of France for his chapel. It
has been richly painted, the arms of France being on the back, and the
motto 'Pietate et Justitia' on the sides. The tone of this violoncello
is of extraordinary power and richness." Mr. Forster supposes this to
have been one of the instruments mentioned before, but that would
destroy the value of the document given to Sir William, because if
Andrew Amati made it for Pope Pius 5th, who presented it to Charles 9th
it could not have been one of those made by him expressly for that
monarch. It is clear however that the tone was both grand and fine, and
therefore the first of the Amatis must have attained great ability in
his art. We have before mentioned the celebrated Nicholas Amati violin,
dated 1679, formerly the property of the same distinguished collector,
Sir W. Curtis, and which has since been sold by Mr. Hart to the great
violinist Ole Bull. This is considered the finest specimen of the Amati
skill and was thus described in the catalogue of the sale--"This is
justly considered as one of the most beautiful and finest instruments
in the WHOLE WORLD." The Count de Castelbarco of Milan, possessed a
quartett of instruments by Nicholas Amati, which have since been sold
in London (see the article on Stradiuarius.) M. Fetis describes these
as _admirable_, but as our readers will see, the English connoisseurs
do not appear to have coincided generally with the critic on their
quality, as only one of them produced any great price. There is a
splendid grand Amati in the hands of an amateur in Derbyshire, which
formerly belonged to Mr. Hankey the banker, for whom it was purchased
with others by Viotti, who dedicated several of his compositions to
him. This instrument possesses in an eminent degree the admirable
qualities of the Amati tone, with also considerable power. Another of
the same set in the same hands is a splendid Stradiuarius of the large
pattern with a magnificent tone. There are many fine examples of the
different makers of this celebrated name in this country. English
connoisseurs suffer those of no other nation to excel them in their


A most interesting account of Antonius Stradiuarius, who is generally
thought to be the greatest maker of the violin--has been published by
M. Fetis, and translated into English by Mr. Bishop of Cheltenham. In
addition to records of his family, which was an ancient one in Cremona,
obtained by M. Vuillaume in his persevering labours in search of
information, and which he placed at the service of M. Fetis--the latter
enters deeply into what we may call the science of violin making, and
presents us with many interesting and valuable experiments which have
been made on fragments of the great instruments, in order to ascertain
the exact principles which enabled Stradiuarius to build with such
undeviating and brilliant success. The book is well worthy the perusal
of all amateurs of the violin.

ANTONIUS STRADIUARIUS was born in Cremona, in 1644, and died there in
1737, having lived in the peaceful exercise of his art to the great age
of ninety-three. There is a violin still extant which bears his
signature and proves this fact. In the early part of his life, he was a
pupil of Nicholas Amati, and some of his early productions bear his
master's name, as seems to have been the custom. These instruments have
the Amati characteristics, and have some of the backs cut the contrary
way of the grain, forming what are known by the name of "slab" backs.
He afterwards enlarged his model and adopted a flatter pattern, and
arrived at the greatest perfection about 1700. From that period to
1725, everything he made bore the impress of the great master. In
shape, the cutting of the S holes, the varnish, and the accuracy with
which all the parts were adjusted in harmonical relation, from that
time he excelled all who had gone before him, or who have since
attempted the difficult task of vying with him. All these instruments
are of the flat pattern, which is now proved to be best adapted for the
production of a rich, deep and powerful tone. It would appear that the
more elevated model used before his time, although it allowed of very
fine quality of tone, tended to prevent that strong vibration which is
the cause of great tone. M. Fetis insists that the violins of
Stradiuarius were as good and fine in quality of tone when made as they
are now, contrary to the established opinion that time is necessary as
well as use for refining and perfecting all violins. He gives an
instance of a violin made by Stradiuarius, now in Paris, which he
states has never been played upon--but we must beg to doubt this fact.
Though we are ready to admit that the careful adjustment of the
different parts and the selection of fine wood, would tend to perfect
the tone of these instruments, much sooner than others less carefully
fashioned, yet in the instance he brings forward in support of his
theory, it does not appear quite so clear that the violin never had
been played upon. On the contrary, there are many years unaccounted
for, in his description of it, during which it might have undergone
considerable use. It appears almost impossible that while in the hands
of various possessors, so fine an instrument should have been suffered
to lie idle in a cabinet, as though it were a picture to be looked at,
but not touched. From its condition, however, it is clear that it had
always been in hands that prized it, for he describes it as having
quite the appearance of a new instrument. In this respect, therefore,
we must still adopt the opinion of the most eminent judges, including
that recorded by Spohr, that it requires both time and use to perfect
all instruments of the violin class. It would appear moreover that this
has always been a settled belief, for even Mace in his "Music's
Monument," published in 1676, says "We chiefly value old instruments
before new for by experience they are found to be far the best." As to
the condition of this instrument which Fetis states to be quite unique
for its perfection and apparent newness, our countryman, Mr. Gardiner,
in his interesting work, "Music and Friends," says that Mr. Champion,
an amateur had given 300 guineas for a Stradiuarius violin and tenor,
of a beautiful yellow colour inclining to orange, and which appeared to
have been untouched since the day they were made. Here then in this
country is a double instance of the same fact as to condition, for
which M. Fetis claims for the Paris instrument the title of unique. The
fact is that these fine violins have for many years been so highly
appreciated that their possessors have taken the most extraordinary
care to prevent their being damaged or disfigured, and there are many
instances of violins in equally perfect condition.

After 1725, at which date Stradiuarius was 80 years old, his work lost
some of its characteristic excellence though still of great merit. His
sons, Homobono and Francesco, now assisted him, but he appears still to
have signed them, occasionally adding to their names however, the words
_sub disciplina A. Stradiuarius_. He had many pupils, the chief and the
best of whom was Carlo Bergonzi. There were also Gobetti of Venice,
Guadagnini of Cremona, Michael Angelo Bergonzi, and others mentioned in
the dictionary. Fine examples of the works of his pupils are now
becoming very valuable, and are well worthy attention.

Stradiuarius made a few instruments inlaid with ebony and ivory round
the edges. There is a quartett of them, all bearing the same date 1687.
One is in the collection of Charles Plowden, Esq.; the other violin
belongs to a gentleman in Staffordshire; the violoncello belongs to the
Queen of Spain, and the tenor was once the property of Sir Wm. Curtis.
This is a very curious and remarkable set of instruments, very highly
finished and in fine preservation. There is also another violin inlaid
which belonged to the late Dr. Camidge of York, bearing date 1713. A.
Fountain, Esq., has in his possession, the last violin which
Stradiuarius made. This instrument is known as the Habenock Violin from
the previous owner's name from whom Mr. Fountain had it. Charles
Plowden, Esq., has a quartett of splendid instruments by Stradiuarius,
of which one violin is of the Grand Pattern, dated 1719; another dated
1711; which are perfect in model and preservation, and both
first-class; the third is a remarkable violin, with rich golden
varnish, dated 1709--a perfect instrument, which has been twice sold
for £600, was formerly the property of Emiliani and is still known by
his name. The fourth violin is the inlaid instrument mentioned above.
Besides these, Mr. Plowden possesses a magnificent violoncello by
Stradiuarius--a remarkable specimen both for beauty and tone; and also,
four violins by Joseph Guarnerius which will be mentioned under the
head of that master.

There is in Derbyshire a very fine Stradiuarius which was purchased by
Viotti for his friend Mr. Hankey, from whom this and the Amati
mentioned elsewhere went to his brother, a distinguished amateur, who
died some years ago. Wm. Howard, Esq., of Sheffield, has a fine
Stradiuarius violin, of the most beautiful yellow varnish, splendid
wood, fine tone, and perfect condition, which formerly belonged to

We may also mention here that the late eminent violinist Ernst, played
upon a very fine Stradiuarius Violin which was presented to him by A.
Fountain, Esq., an ardent admirer of that famous player. Joachim also
uses a Stradiuarius. Servais, the great French performer, uses a
Stradiuarius Violoncello, which is said to be the handsomest known, and
which cost him 500 guineas.

The value of the best productions of the genius of Stradiuarius is now
very great. Mr. Betts, of London, had one for which he refused the
enormous sum of £500, and Dragonetti also refused £800 for a double
bass. The highest price, £600 however was given twice for the violin
now belonging to Mr. Plowden. But even such prices have been exceeded
by that of the celebrated King Joseph Guarnerius mentioned elsewhere,
which realised £700. It must not be understood however that such prices
are the rule, for it is only for extraordinary specimens that any such
great sum can be obtained. Excellent instruments are frequently sold
for much smaller amounts, and it must also be remembered that none but
those made from about 1700 to 1725 realise such enormous sums. His
earlier productions, which resemble those of his master, and which are
known by the name of Stradiuarius Amatis, can be had occasionally for
moderate prices. An undoubted violin of any period of this great
master's make, is well worthy the attention of the virtuoso. They are
all good, but the grand pattern of this wonderful genius, possessing
equal sweetness with greatly increased power, are only now to be had by
connoisseurs of unlimited means.

As an illustration of the more moderate prices which these fine
productions command, we think it may interest our readers to give here
the result of a public sale of Cremona instruments belonging to the
Count de Castelbarco of Milan, a distinguished amateur. M. Fetis in his
work states that the Count possessed "two quartetts of Stradiuarius,
very remarkable instruments; another of Joseph Guarnerius; a fourth of
Nicholas Amati, and lastly a quartett of Steiner," of which he
specially particularises the Tenor as "being a model of perfection as
to workmanship, and the tone of which is of extreme beauty." These
instruments were sold by auction by Messrs. Puttick and Simpson, on the
26th June, 1862. We quote the report of the "Times," by which it will
be seen that our English connoisseurs did not appreciate them so highly
as M. Fetis. The "Times" did not mention the Guarnerii and the Steiner
at all, we presume because the prices were nothing remarkable.

     1  Violin by Stradiuarius,               1712   £ 70
     2  Violin by Stradiuarius,               1699   £ 56
     5  Tenor Violin by Stradiuarius,         1715   £100
     6  Violin by Stradiuarius,               1701   £135
     8  Violin by Stradiuarius,               1685   £135
     9  Violin by Stradiuarius,               1713   £ 90
    12  Violin by Nicholas Amati                    39 gs.
    13  Violin by Andrew Amati                      36 gs.
    26  Violoncello, Stradiuarius             1697   £210
    28  Violoncello, Stradiuarius             1687   £115
    30  Violoncello, Nicholas Amati           1687   £130
    31  Original Letter by Stradiuarius              £  8

At the same sale a Grand Amati Violin, jewelled at the corners, £60;
Violin by Guarnerius, 38 guineas.

In addition to the above we may mention that the Stradiuarius Violin,
which once belonged to a member of the Medici Family, was sold by
auction a short time ago, at the Hotel de Drouet in Paris, for 5,745f.,
about £230, an excellent price for a Parisian connoisseur. We have
already mentioned many fine instruments by Stradiuarius which are in
the hands of connoisseurs and performers. We will now mention a fact
which in the estimation of all true lovers of these fine violins is to
be greatly regretted. It is not the only instance, as probably our
readers are aware that the celebrated Guarnerius Violin of Paganini, is
now locked up in a museum at Genoa. There is at a museum in the city of
Florence, a quartett of beautiful instruments by Stradiuarius,
consisting of two violins, tenor, and violoncello, which were presented
to the institution by an Italian Nobleman, whose ancestors purchased
them from the master himself. These instruments are most beautiful and
in the highest preservation. But of all other curiosities, Cremona
Violins are the most unsuitable for a museum, because they lie there
dead, and are no more than names. The soul of music which is embodied
in them is imprisoned within wood and crystal, and is no more heard of
men. Let no one leave his Cremona to a museum.

Before closing our account of this great master, it may not be
uninteresting to state in his life time, he appears to have charged
about £4 for a violin, and that he made so many during the course of
his long and industrious career, that his fellow citizens spoke of him
as rich. "As rich as Stradiuarius," was a common remark, as we see by
M. Fetis' notice. Another anecdote is, that Cervetto, an Italian
merchant in London, had a consignment of violins from the master
himself, and as he could not get four pounds each for them he returned
them. This appears strongly to disprove the assertion that his
instruments were as good when made as they are now, especially when we
find that in 1662, £40 was given for two Cremona violins for King
Charles' band, no doubt the elder Amati's, which at that date would be
getting mellowed by time. It is clear that King Charles, or the leader
of his band, knew the value of Cremona instruments, for reckoning the
difference in the value of money at the two periods, £20 then would
purchase £120 worth of goods now. It is therefore extraordinary that if
they were as good new as when they are old, the paltry sum of four
pounds could not be got for them. The real truth no doubt is that
whoever the maker, time must be the refiner, and even genius like that
of Stradiuarius and Guarnerius could not impart that grand, rich, and
mellow tone which distinguishes them without the aid of old Father


Those who desire to make themselves acquainted with the chief
characteristics of the great Cremona makers should take every
opportunity of examining genuine instruments. In addition to the other
external indications we have pointed out, one of the most important,
which is also the most difficult, if not impossible to imitate, is the
varnish, including the colour. None of them seem to have adhered to one
colour only. The present master for instance covered some of his finest
violins with a deep rich yellow, almost approaching to orange. Others
again will be found of a fine red, having something of a most lovely
light cherry tint. Now these colours were mixed by the best makers with
amber varnish of the purest and clearest consistency, and both colours
and varnish are perfectly free from that muddy sort of appearance which
so often disfigures modern instruments. The effect is that of perfect
transparency. You look at a clear perfect rich colour, as it were,
through the purest crystal. This is one of the most certain indications
of a genuine instrument. The moderns unfortunately seem to have lost
the secret of making this lovely transparent clear coloured varnish,
and the consequence is that a connoisseur of ability and experience
never doubts when he sees an instrument whether it be the work of a
great master. It is however supposed that all the genuine productions
of the chief Cremona makers are now known, and we would not therefore
have our readers flatter themselves they can pick up any of them in a
casual way. Vigilant eyes and sharp judgments have long swept over
Europe in search of them. But the advantage is this--that a knowledge
of the best enables the amateur to discern a near approach to it, and
thus distinguish those makers who are not so well known, though, being
the pupils and followers of the great masters, they are well worthy of
his choice. Large diamonds are rare and very dear. A smaller gem must
suffice the amateur of moderate means.


This is another glorious name in the annals of Cremona. Many of the
first connoisseurs, now hesitate whether to apply the epithet greatest
to Guarnerius or to Stradiuarius. The palm is therefore divided between
them. Certain it is however that inasmuch as money rules the world, if
we resort to that test, Guarnerius is the brightest gem, for it is
recorded that he has sold for £700 and Stradiuarius for only £600. Most
of the rich connoisseurs therefore desire to possess both. The great
players, to whom money is more an object, divide their affections
between them, and are satisfied with either one or the other, as chance
or opportunity may decide.

The first of this celebrated family was Andreas, who was born in 1630
and died about 1695. He appears to have been a pupil of Nicholas Amati,
and shows much of his teacher's careful finish. His instruments are
generally beautifully made, of good and handsome wood, with excellent
varnish, principally of amber colour like that of the Amatis. He also
occasionally, but much more seldom, used red coloured varnish. This
artiste is not famous for producing a great tone in his instruments,
and he is therefore not elevated to the first class, but he made very
good violins which are well worthy the attention of the amateur. We
have seen a very fine specimen in the hands of A. Bright, Esq., of
Sheffield, which was purchased of Mr. Hart, and which is decidedly the
best instrument we have seen of this master. It is remarkably handsome,
of a beautiful yellow colour, the back of one piece with rather small
figure, the ribs similar, the head most carefully and accurately formed
and the belly of fine wood. The tone is also more powerful than
Andrew's violins generally are, and it is altogether a very fine
example of his work.

GUISEPPE GUARNERIUS is considered to be the son of Andrew, and his
instruments are generally signed as filius Andræ, very probably to
distinguish him from his more celebrated cousin and namesake, who is
besides generally known by the name of Joseph del Gesu. Guiseppe's
instruments are very similar to his cousin's in quality--but less
powerful and probably not so round in tone. They have however, a firm
well defined kind of sound, which is always pleasing both to the player
and the hearer, the former never feeling that the tone will give way
under his bow. There are a great number with "slab" backs. The varnish
is of first quality, and his violins are yearly becoming more valuable
and of greater importance. We have seen a violoncello by this master,
which is very fine. The back, ribs and head of very beautiful small
figured wood. The belly of very fine grained wood, the bate looking
like fine threads of silk stretched at regular intervals the whole
width and length of the instrument, and with an exceedingly rich red
varnish. It possesses also a fine quality of tone, and is dated 1713.

PIETRO, another son of Andreas, dates from 1690 to 1720. In the latter
part of his life, he appears to have removed from Cremona to Mantua,
his labels bearing date from thence. He was a pupil of his father, but
is said not to have equalled him in careful finish. His instruments,
however, command considerable respect and fetch a good price, a
violoncello of his being recorded to have sold a few years ago for

JOSEPH, nephew of Andreas, born in 1683, and died in 1745, is the last
and best of the race of violin makers of this name. He was distinguished
by the title of Joseph del Gesu, through his using on his labels, the
monogram I.H.S., with a cross over or through the H. His career appears
to have been of a very chequered complexion. From all the accounts that
have come down to us, he seems to have been a man of irregular habits
and eccentric genius. In consequence of these peculiarities, his
instruments differ greatly in their characteristics. Neither the model,
the wood, nor the varnish possesses much verisimilitude at different
periods of his career. They are all, however, marked by the stamp of
genius, and give but little trouble to a well informed connoisseur.
Even under the most distressing circumstances, when on some account, he
was confined in prison, and was obliged to be indebted to his gaoler's
daughter for the materials with which he worked, they still bear the
characteristics and originality of a great master. The finish, however,
of those which he made at this period was inferior to the others, being
rather coarse and slovenly, and the work altogether little indicating
externally the signs of that real excellence which they possess. At his
best period, however, his instruments are of rare beauty and merit, and
equal or perhaps excel those of Stradiuarius. The wood he then used was
of fine quality, and the varnish rich and lustrous and very often of
similar lovely tints as those of that master. Many of his instruments
are of rather small pattern, but in his best period, he produced some
of large size and of extraordinary power and grandeur of tone. Among
them was the famous favourite violin of Paganini, the renown of which,
says M. Vuillaume, "was equal to that of its master." This was the
instrument on which, the most celebrated of all violin players the
world ever saw, produced those extraordinary effects which astonished
the whole musical world, and which will never be forgotten by those who
heard them, nor perhaps excelled by any other. These instruments are
however unfortunately very rare, and as rich connoisseurs will have
them if possible, the value of them has come to be very great. We have
elsewhere mentioned the magnificent violin known by the name of the
King Joseph Guarnerius, for which Mr. Hart received the enormous sum of
£700, which is the largest amount ever obtained for a violin on record.
This splendid violin is of large pattern, with beautiful rich orange
yellow varnish and splendid wood. It was imported into this country by
Mr. Hart, and has been in the hands of those enthusiastic and judicious
collectors, Mr. James Goding and Mr. Stewart. Joseph Guarnerius appears
to have endeavoured to produce the grandest tone, combining majesty and
refinement. Many people think he did so without thought or design, but
we think otherwise. In the first place he seems to have fixed on Gaspar
di Salo and Magini as his models, for if a comparison be made we shall
find there are many points which resemble these instruments, for
example, the peculiar shaped sound holes, the manner in which they are
placed and the flat model, all of which tend to produce power, while he
obtained the quality from the wonderful ingenuity he exercised in
leaving the thicknesses of the wood in evidently the correct places,
which was the necessary step in advance. He certainly made many rough
instruments which are ascribed to his imprisonment, and which are now
called the Prison Guarnerii, but the varnish on these even is not
surpassed. He made many of a rich yellow colour, and others of red, the
latter of which are matchless instruments. His heads are not finely
cut, but the character he gave them has never been excelled.

In the first rank of Joseph Guarnerius instruments we must no doubt
place that belonging to Paganini, which would, if it could be obtained,
command an extraordinary price, and there are also many other noble
productions of his skill extant. The King Joseph Guarnerius we have
before mentioned. Mr. Plowden has four very valuable violins by this
master. One was formerly the property of Mr. Goding, and was esteemed
by him the finest in his collection. Another is quite equal, more
highly finished and has his splendid red varnish. The third was
formerly the property of Ole Bull, and is considered of the finest
model of the master in his more unfinished and larger sized
instruments, dated 1714. The fourth, less well known, but perhaps more
perfect, certainly in tone, 1742. These four instruments are considered
by most of the virtuosi, to be probably the finest examples extant of
this great master. Certainly there are few collectors who can boast of
having so many fine violins as these four by Guarnerius, and the four
by Stradiuarius previously described. Mr. Plowden has always gone on
the principle of getting the very best instruments of each master, and
his taste and judgment are well evidenced in his collection. The late
Earl of Falmouth possessed some very valuable instruments such as the
Kiesewetter Guarnerius and the Jarnovick Guarnerius, so named after
their owners, and also a fine Magini Tenor, all of which were purchased
by Mr. Hart. The late lamented Prince Consort had a very fine tenor by
Joseph Guarnerius, which was highly finished and had belonged to
Dragonetti. There are many other fine specimens of Guarnerius in this
country. English collectors, with that splendid contempt for cost which
distinguishes them, allow no fine instruments to leave the country if
they know it, and the consequence is that in the present day, and for
some time back, England ranks first in the number and value of the
Cremona Violins she possesses. Next comes France, who has some able
connoisseurs; then Russia and Germany. Italy, strange to say, has
suffered them all to leave her, and though the native country of
Stradiuarius and Guarnerius, it is doubtful whether other nations have
not attracted all the finest instruments out of her own possession. The
great rise in the value of these extraordinary instruments is no doubt
due to the fact that they were built very strong in wood, the effect of
which would be to depreciate the tone when they were built, but which,
now time has ameliorated them and the wood has become capable of free
vibration, has refined the quality and increased the tone. Fifty years
ago, a Guarnerius of the best time might have been bought for £50 that
will now command £500. Neither does it appear that they have yet
reached their climax, for they are yearly increasing in value as the
examples we have mentioned clearly show.



The time has been when the instruments of this master, whose name is
perhaps yet as widely known as the Cremonese, were very highly esteemed
in England. In Germany it is so yet, and many of the amateurs of that
country flatter themselves that Steiner ranks first in the roll of
famous violin makers. Their celebrated violinist, Spohr, however, in
his remarks on the subject inserted in his Violin School does not
coincide with the opinion of his fellow countrymen to this effect, for
he puts Steiner in the second rank, reserving to the first Nicholas
Amati, Antonius Stradiuarius, and Joseph Guarnerius. In this decision
he also generally expresses the opinion of the travelled professional
violinists of his own country as well as all Europe. But it is well
known that in Germany a well preserved instrument of Steiner's best
period will sell for much more money than any where else. In England
more especially we adopt exactly the reverse valuation. Steiner will
not now command a greater price than many of the pupils of the great
masters, and perhaps to some extent this may arise from the immense
number of spurious instruments bearing his name, which the inferior
Tyrolese makers put forth to the world and palmed on a credulous public
as his genuine instruments. Perhaps no master has been more copied and
imitated, both in Germany and elsewhere. In England the violin makers
in the beginning of the eighteenth century, mostly copied the pattern
and model of Steiner. There must, therefore, be some good and powerful
reason for this general depreciation in value and reputation which
Steiner has suffered. This the candid inquirer readily finds in the
fact that the instruments of Steiner, which were generally constructed
on a high and peculiar model were only calculated for the production of
a thin though sparkling tone, while the Italians aimed, particularly in
the flatter instruments, to obtain a full rich and round tone. This
distinction is apparent even in the older Cremona makers, but if we
compare those of Steiner with those of Nicholas Amati, of Stradiuarius,
or Guarnerius, the thin tone of the former and the rich round tone of
the latter become instantly most striking. The consequence is that the
rich amateurs who form collections, and the great performers whose
interest it is to please by the quality of tone as well as the grace
and finish of their execution, no longer purchase the Steiner violins
except as matters of curiosity in the case of a very fine example. We
do not know any great player who uses a Steiner instrument, as we shall
show in another article. We therefore only now class Steiner among the
great masters, from his past reputation, and for certain special

JACOB STEINER was a native of the Tyrol, and was born at Absom, near
Inspruck, about 1620. It is said that an old instrument by Kerlino,
which he found in the house, gave him his first tendencies towards the
art of violin making. Certain it is however that while yet a youth he
obtained employment in the workshop of Nicholas Amati. This was an
excellent school for the young aspirant, and after some years he made
some instruments which, with the exception of sixteen which will be
mentioned later, are considered to be the finest specimens of his
talent. These fine violins are the product of his Cremonese
inspiration, and bear a written label signed by himself and dated from
Cremona about 1644. These instruments are modelled higher than those of
his master, thus showing a singular divergence from the principle of
gradual decrease in the height of the model of the Amatis, from Andrew
to Nicholas. This divergence from that principle, which ended in the
flat model of Stradiuarius, must be considered to be the real cause of
the loss of favour which the Steiner violins, though beautiful in other
respects, have undergone. Steiner exaggerated the old practice instead
of following the new lights of science, and while the latter have
yielded the brightest results, the former has tarnished the real talent
of this otherwise excellent artiste. Probably another reason for the
defective tone of Steiner's instruments in comparison with the
Cremonese and Brescian, is the practice of modelling his violins with
an extraordinary and peculiar rise to about the foot of the bridge, and
then keeping it nearly flat. Otto describes it thus, "the breadth of
this raised part is about the same as the bridge itself, and then it
falls off towards the edges. The model is precisely similar towards the
neck and on the broad part (beneath the finger board.)" This description
is only imperfect in this point that sufficient stress is not laid on
the words _fall off_. It is literally a falling off, and on the
principles of acoustics must of necessity make the tone thin. Andrew
Amati, on the contrary, built nearly as high, but beautifully and
gradually sloped them down to the purfling, and his instruments, though
small in tone, are yet full, round and sweet. In other respects Steiner
at this period was a most careful maker, and his instruments show very
fine finish and workmanship. They are of the small pattern, with the S
holes rather shorter than the Cremonas, somewhat narrow and beautifully
formed; the head also smaller and particularly round and smooth. The
varnish is similar to that of the Amatis, and the wood of the belly has
a fine open grain.

After the production of these instruments at Cremona, Steiner removed
to his native place and having married the daughter of Antonius Amati
appears to have lost his ambition, and made many very inferior
instruments. His history at this period is somewhat melancholy. Pressed
by the necessities of a family and the want of active patronage, his
genius languished and he became negligent and careless in his work.
This continued for some time till fortune again smiled upon him, when
not being compelled to sell for immediate wants he again resumed his
careful finish and began to be distinguished as a good maker. At about
this period Klotz and Albani became his pupils, and he produced some
excellent instruments, which are often distinguished by the scrolls
being ornamented with lions heads which are beautifully carved. These
and the heads of other animals are supposed to denote the crests of his
patrons at this period. They are dated from about 1650 to 1667 at
Absom. Fetis says the French violinist, Alard, has a violin of this
period of the greatest beauty, and that there is in Paris a genuine
Steiner, which he has heard Sivori play upon, which although of a very
small pattern has an unusually brilliant tone.

Now comes the most brilliant period of this artiste's history in a
musical sense, though somewhat romantic and mysterious otherwise.

Retiring to a monastery, it is said after the death of his wife, he
there passed the remainder of his life, but there does not appear to be
any positive information when he died. While there, however, he
resolved to distinguish the close of his career by the construction of
some violins of super-eminent beauty and quality. This he accomplished
by the aid of the superior, who obtained for him some very fine wood,
out of which those most famous instruments, known by the name of
_Elector Steiners_ were made by him. These are the violins which by
common consent most entitle this artiste to rank with the great
masters. They are of the very highest quality of the Steiner tone,
which Dubourg describes as "a pure ringing ethereal tone, comparable to
that of a woman's perfect voice--a shape of elegance--studied finish in
every detail, and a diaphonous varnish of golden hue." Such are the
characteristics, says this enthusiastic admirer of these productions of
Steiner's third or last epoch. There were sixteen of these violins, one
of which he presented to each of the twelve Electors, and the remaining
four to the Emperor. Unfortunately thirteen of them appear to have been
lost, and the remainder have all been in royal hands, the Empress Maria
Theresa, the Duke of Orleans, grandfather of King Louis Philippe, and
Frederick William of Prussia, and been presented by them (except the
last) to eminent foreign violinists.

We have now presented a concise sketch of the career of this celebrated
artiste, and it is to be regretted that none of his more celebrated
violins are known to be in this country, to enable us to judge more
accurately, whether he succeeded, in any of them, in producing any
close approximation to the rich round tone of the best Cremona makers.
The best of those known to English connoisseurs are characterised by
the thin though brilliant tone we have described, which, when compared
with the Italian masterpieces, has led to their general depreciation in
the estimation of the highest authorities and the most distinguished
performers on the violin.


In considering this question, several difficulties present themselves
to the inquirer. We are all aware of the infinite diversity of tastes
in the first instance, and in the next, accurate judgment is a matter
which depends on the union of so many qualities that it is rare indeed
to find two opinions completely alike. Nevertheless we do find that
there are a few instruments which by universal consent have become the
standard of taste. They are "the glass of fashion and the mould of
form" in the violin world. An appeal to these famous violins must
therefore be of some service in this inquiry, which is of very
considerable importance, because its object is to decide what is that
tone which confers that immense value which some violins have realised
as distinguished from that which possesses only a merit of so inferior
a character as to become scarcely valuable in any degree. In other
words, what are the distinguishing characteristics of tone of the
violins made by Nicholas Amati, Antonius Stradiuarius, and Joseph
Guarnerius. These three makers are now the Raphaels, the Titians, and
the Claudes of the musical world, and a few thoughts on their works in
connection with this subject may help us to a decision on this
difficult point, at least to the great bulk of amateurs. We will divide
the inquiry into three heads.

    1. Power.
    2. Sweetness.
    3. Purity.

In considering the first point, power, the amateur will have to beware
of a very possible mistake he may fall into. There is _apparent_ power
under the ear, arising from coarseness. This is a species of power
which is observable chiefly by the player. The listener, especially if
at a little distance, does not hear this power. The tone is clogged and
thickened with the resinous particles which have remained in the wood
and which perhaps, from its nature may never leave it altogether, and
the vibration is not therefore perfect. Another cause of false power is
a certain imperfect build wherein the parts are not properly calculated
as in the fine Cremona productions. These two classes of instruments
are very apt to deceive unpractised ears. But a moment's comparison
with one of the genuine great masters will show them in a most
unmistakable manner the difference. What then is real power? It is
simply musical tone, divested of all adventitious qualities. When tone
of this class is heard near, the effect is charming to the ear. When
heard afar off, it seems to swell out and become magnificent and
telling. Who that has heard a great player on a fine instrument, that
has not been astonished at the immense quantity of tone which arises
from this exceedingly fine quality. And it is in this way that even the
small Amatis, built when great amount of tone was not wanted and would
not have been appreciated, are still most delightful as solo
instruments. Its purity and fine quality carry it to a much greater
distance and produce a greater effect, than would arise from larger
instruments of less careful build and euphonic qualities. Herein is
discovered the difference between violins of the three great masters
named and others of the same name. If a small Nicholas Amati be
compared with a large model, it will be found that the quality is
similar, but the quantity is greater, and therefore the instrument
becomes more valuable. Again, in a Stradiuarius or Joseph Guarnerius of
the best period, which are of the flat model and most accurate build,
we find a pure ringing and deliciously rich quality, without roughness
or coarseness, that finds its way through everything to a great
distance, even in a crowded concert room. The differences in the three
great makers seems to be now decided to consist in fullness of tone and
quantity of power. The Amatis are essentially sweet and vocal. The
Stradiuarius--of similar quality, greatly increased in body and of a
more ringing bell-like character. The Guarnerius of the best model is
even still more powerful. But they all possess that essential purity
and richness of tone without which there is no real excellence. On this
head we find, therefore, that power, providing it be accompanied by the
other essentials of sweetness and purity, confers on violins the
greatest value. A Nicholas Amati of the grand pattern--a Stradiuarius
of the large flat model, or a Guarnerius of similar characteristics--all
of which have been built with the greatest care and attention to the
resonant qualities of the wood, and possess all these essentials--are
therefore the instruments that have and will always command the
greatest admiration.

The next essential point in a good instrument we have to consider is
sweetness. This combines characteristics which are not essential to
power. A violin may possess the latter without the former. The tone may
be of a quality which will tell and carry, but not of that soft
delicious voice like nature which we call sweetness. The most admirable
instruments of this characteristic have been variously compared to a
flute or to the female voice. The latter is the best comparison. For
the brightest examples of this quality alone we must look to the small
violins of Antonius and Hieronymus, and also of Nicholas Amati. They
are of the most delicious quality, and for solo instruments cannot be
excelled. They respond with the most charming effect to the most
touching and passionate expression. A great player can really sing on
these with such a delightful effect as almost to compensate for the
want of speech.

The third point is purity of tone. We may be said to have touched upon
this already in treating of the other two. But it is necessary to
allude to this also, because it is possible to have purity of tone
without sweetness or power. There are many instruments which from age
and use have lost all harshness or roughness of tone, but are still of
a thin piercing quality. These may be said to be pure in tone, but not
possessing the other requisites they fail in commanding attention. What
we have to look for in a violin is that roundness and fullness of
quality which are combined in the term sweetness. Tone cannot be said
to be sweet which is thin or piercing. It lacks one essential
characteristic. It is on this account that in the present day many of
the Steiner instruments have lost favour. There are a few which possess
both sweetness and purity, and they rank with the small Amatis. But the
best of them are wanting in power. This characteristic is only heard in
perfection in the Stradiuarius or the Guarnerius of Cremona, and the
great Brescian makers Gaspar di Salo and Magini. An amateur should look
therefore in purchasing an instrument whether it possesses these three
characteristics or any or which of them.

We have now shown what are the essentials of a fine instrument, but as
the genuine productions of these great masters are mostly in the hands
of rich amateurs it is scarcely possible to become the happy possessor
of one of the perfect instruments. What then shall we do? The reply is
simple. Study the characteristics we have described, and you will find
in some of the pupils of the Amati, Stradiuarius, or Guarnerius a near
approach to this excellence. In fact it is well known that in the
scarcity of originals fine examples by the pupils have frequently been
sold as the work of the masters themselves. The Dictionary we have
compiled will tell the amateur what names will most probably supply the
qualities he desires. Care and attention will do the rest.


In the preceding chapter we have endeavoured to solve the question what
are the qualities that constitute good tone. We now propose to inquire
how good tone is provided for in the construction of the violin. We are
not about to enter into the scientific question. We wish merely to give
to the general amateur a knowledge which is often only acquired after
years of patient study and trial of instruments, by certain general
principles which will seldom or never be found to be incorrect in fact,
and then only through instruments being built on false rules in other
respects. In good instruments these rules may be said to be infallible.

It is a curious fact that Gaspar di Salo and Magini, both early makers,
started with the principle which has since been brought to the greatest
perfection by the Cremona makers, and built on the flat model. Their
instruments are consequently found to possess much of the fine and
powerful tone which distinguishes Stradiuarius and Guarnerius. The
early Amatis, in the second place, built on a higher model, and their
instruments possess a sweet but not powerful tone. Steiner, thirdly,
built on a higher model still, and his instruments have a thin piercing
tone. We can only draw one conclusion from these facts--namely, that
the nearer we approach an entire flat in the model of a violin the
fuller, rounder, and more powerful the tone; other points of careful
work and good varnish being taken into consideration. This fact has
strongly impressed itself on the minds of scientific inquirers, and the
result has been, as tests of the principle, the production of flat
violins. These have been tried and reported satisfactory in the matter
of tone. But there are other points to provide for which a flat box
does not allow. To gain the requisite mass of air to produce good tone
a flat violin has to be made of a clumsy awkward shape. In the
beautiful modelled violin this is provided for in the rise of the back
and belly. The ribs may therefore be more or less shallow according to
the height of the model, and yet provide a sufficient space for the
necessary amount of air for the production of good tone. We arrive then
at this one certain fact, that the flatter the model of a violin the
greater the probability of a good fine tone. It is of such violins
therefore that we find the great performers possess themselves. This
may be said to be an infallible rule, and an examination of the
instruments of the most celebrated makers fully confirms it.

Why therefore did the elder Amati, contemporary and probably pupil of
Gaspar di Salo, change the model and size of the instrument? This
inquiry brings us to the second rule for the amateur. There cannot be a
doubt that he adopted this plan because the flat model produced a more
powerful tone than was then required. He therefore, no doubt acquainted
practically, if not theoretically, with the principles of acoustics,
raised his model and decreased his size to provide for the production
of that eminently sweet tone which characterises his instruments. The
amateur therefore who desires tone of this description, but does not
want power, will generally find it in the model of medium height,
providing as in all other cases, the work and the wood are good. Of
this model are some of the sweetest toned violins to be found, of which
the Amatis are the type.

Finally, many instruments are to be found constructed on Steiner's plan
with very elevated model flat on the centre, and falling off abruptly
towards the sides. These are all contrary to acoustic principles, and
their thin piercing tone is to be ascribed to the want of that
harmonious communication of vibration which their peculiar construction
inevitably indicates.

Let, therefore, the amateur who wishes to be his own purveyor, examine,
with these principles impressed on his mind, whatever instruments he
can gain access to and the result will be that he will seldom err in
this matter.

After this he must study the characteristics of good wood, careful
finish, and fine varnish. A knowledge of these is best acquired by
examining the instruments of the great masters. To go fully into these
also is not necessary here, having already commented on them under
their respective heads. One remark is, however, necessary here. Many
people foolishly imagine that _any_ violin may be made to produce
as sweet sounds in the hands of a skilful player as a high class
instrument. This is a great mistake, and a convincing proof of its
fallacy may be drawn from the fact that all the great soloists play
upon high class violins. They do this moreover at a time when they
would gladly save the expense were it possible. A few instances may
interest the reader.


Joachim plays upon a Stradiuarius, Vieuxtemps on a Guarnerius, Ole Bull
on a Guarnerius and an Amati, De Beriot on a Magini, (of which he had
two very splendid examples, the second being now in the possession of
the author,) Carrodus a Guarnerius, and many other living instances.
Piatti a Ruggerius violoncello, Servais a Stradiuarius violoncello.
Past examples may be cited in Paganini, who played upon a Guarnerius,
Mori a Guarnerius, and Spagnoletti the same. Ernst used a Stradiuarius.
Dragonetti played on a Gaspar di Salo and a Stradiuarius double bass.


In the last article, we have given some general rules for judging of
the probable tone of an instrument from its model. A few further
remarks on this and other important topics will well supplement what we
have said.

 1.--Accurate judgment in violins can only be obtained by long
experience and seeing many instruments, and if possible those of a high
class. There are many little points which to a casual or careless
observer are invisible, but which a practised connoisseur detects
immediately, and thereby is enabled to declare the maker. A difficulty
will often present itself to a tyro in the knowledge of violins, from
the family likeness which it is possible to trace, for example, between
Amati, Stradiuarius and Bergonzi. These have a general resemblance
which indicates the coming from one school. This applies also in many
other cases--but every master has some distinct difference which is
perceptible to the practised eye. The faces of a flock of sheep are to
a stranger all alike; to the shepherd, each has its personal
individuality. It is the same with violins, which can be read by the
practised student as easily as we know each other by the countenance.

 2.--It is erroneous to imagine that Cremonese instruments can be
successfully imitated, a very popular story about Paganini's Guarnerius
to the contrary notwithstanding, as the lawyers say. An attempt to
impose an imitation on a practised judge is always productive of an
unpleasant result. To fall from the sublime to the ridiculous is
especially awkward, and results in becoming very particularly
ridiculous yourself. This _must_ be whenever a modern maker attempts to
make an ancient violin. There are practical difficulties impossible now
to get over--such as the varnish. The secret of making the grand old
varnish is lost, and therefore whatever is put on by a modern tells the
tale and cries aloud to the judge--This is a cheat!

 3.--It is easier to imitate an old painting than an old violin, though
that is difficult enough to a good judge, but such an insuperable
obstacle as the old amber varnish does not puzzle the picture forger.

 4.--In choosing an instrument it is better to select one of a flat
model, the sides of medium height, well proportioned and with good oil

 5.--We are inclined to think that all the great instruments of the
great makers are well known, and that there are none lying by unknown
to fame.

 6.--Most of the more celebrated instruments are given a name of
distinction, such as the Yellow Stradiuarius, the Blood Red Knight
Guarnerius, the Ole Bull Guarnerius, the De Beriot Magini, the
Emmeliani Stradiuarius, the General Kidd Stradiuarius Violoncello, the
Servais Stradiuarius Violoncello, and others. These can be recognised
like the human face.

 7.--The reason why Italian instruments are so superior to all others
must be ascribed to their exquisite make, the careful adjustment of the
various thicknesses of wood and the varnish, the secret of which
appears gone for ever. Perhaps another reason may be named in the wood
being so ripe and dry as to permit free vibration.

 8.--The Cremonese obtained their colour in oil. The moderns get it only
in spirit, which imparts a hardness to the tone. Compare a Cremona with
the German and other imitations. Can't you hear how perceptible the
difference? The former is mellow and rich--the latter flinty and harsh.
This arises no doubt from the varnish.

 9.--The Cremonese violoncellos were mostly made deeper by half an inch
at the bottom than at the upper part. Guiseppe fil Andreæ, Guarnerius,
Stradiuarius, Landulphus, and others observed this rule. The tone is
said to be greatly improved by it.

10.--Some persons think it is very difficult to obtain an Italian
violin at a moderate price. It is not so. There are many whose makers
are not known, and also third class instruments of good qualities,
which can be obtained from £10 to £25. It is better to purchase one of
these than a baked copy or a new violin. Then again amateurs may resort
to the old French makers, some old English and the Tyrolean, which may
be had cheaper still.

11.--A respectable dealer who is known to be a connoisseur of
experience, will never sell you a modern copy for an old Italian violin
with a long story of how he got it in some wonderful way. His character
is at stake. Beware of ignorance which assumes the mask of knowledge,
or of designing roguery which apes the appearance of innocence.

12.--The present excellence of the old instruments arises from their
having been made thick in wood, which time has ameliorated and
mellowed, and now permits free vibration. It is much to be deplored
that many instruments have not been suffered to remain as the makers
left them, and that others under a false notion of giving an old tone
have been made too thin.

13.--Had Magini, Gaspar di Salo, and other very old makers used as
little wood as some of their successors, where would their instruments
have been now? We are at the present time reaping the benefit of their

14.--There is evident proof of the deep interest the high class makers
took in endeavouring to advance the interests of their art. For
example, Stradiuarius sometimes put the widest grained wood on the
fourth string side, feeling it was the weakest and needed the open
grain. Sometimes he put it on the first string side. He was evidently
trying experiments. But he mostly adopted the former plan, no doubt
correctly. Again, they made instruments larger at the bottom than at
the upper part, gradually reducing in size and depth, an experiment
which observation has since found to be correct. They also made
instruments thicker under the bridge to enable them to bear the great
tension to which they are subject, and many other points showing how
perfect they became. They left little for modern ingenuity to discover.

15.--Old instruments of character should be greatly prized and
carefully preserved, for it seems probable that there will be no others
to take their places, from many well known causes.

16.--Makers of the present time have perverted their talents to
discover a means of producing the qualities of old instruments in new
ones, an achievement utterly impossible, as their efforts show. Many
make instruments with the greatest care, copying the plans of the old
masters--but instead of allowing Father Time to ripen them, they use an
acid to dry up the wood, or bake them. These are known by a peculiar
smell which tells the tale, and they get worse instead of better.
Again, they deem it wise to get a colour at any price, which can only
be done in our day by the use of spirit varnish. Did they use oil
varnish, our successors would at all events reap the benefit, if not
ourselves. The great masters were willing to wait for fame and tried
none of these dodges. Others again put the varnish on and rub it off in
places to resemble the wear of age. Much better would it be to cover
the instrument with varnish and leave age to do the rest. Such schemes
are futile and reflect discredit on those who adopt them.

17.--The peg holes seen in old Italian violoncellos in the middle of
the back are where a peg was put to fasten the instrument round the
neck while playing in the Catholic Churches.

18.--Stradiuarius in his early career frequently cut his wood to form
what are called slab backs, (explained elsewhere,) and sometimes used
pear tree for violoncellos.


We cannot part with the reader who has thus far accompanied us in our
labours, without making a few remarks on the important subject of
repairs. So many fine instruments have been ruined and the beauty of so
many more tarnished by the mal-addresse and ignorance of some so-called
restorers and repairers, that we think we shall be serving the admirers
of the violin by warning them against entrusting valuable instruments
to incompetent hands. A few notes will serve to illustrate the chief
subjects for care and some important items in fitting instruments

1.--So-called repairs have been frequently so clumsily done, as to
damage old and valuable instruments to an extent impossible to remedy.

2.--There are many instances where wood has been taken out of the
instrument under the idea of improving the tone. This is a fatal error,
and when the mischief is discovered it is replaced by new wood. Others
have done the same under another erroneous impression, that it will
give strength to the instrument to enable it to bear the increased
pressure caused by the higher pitch used at the present time. Whatever
the notion, the result is always bad. The grain of the new wood does
not come level with the old, and causes a sudden check to the
vibration. The glue also lying between the old and the new wood deadens
the sound. Some repairers have been guilty of this practice to a great
extent, and many fine instruments have been thus damaged. Let no one
under any plea tamper with the thicknesses of wood in a good violin.

3.--The sound bar used by the old masters (as we have before stated)
and others of that period, was much shorter than is now used, and
consequently all have been changed. The present bar is quite sufficient
to bear the increased pressure required in our time, without resorting
to any other means. If an alteration be required an experienced
repairer only can know the kind of bar required.

4.--The necks of the old instruments were short; they have therefore to
be lengthened if found in their old state. A good repairer will splice
a neck in so as to be scarcely perceptible. Much of the ease and
comfort of playing depends how this is done.

5.--The sound post is a very important item in fitting an instrument.
There is a marvellous power in this simple contrivance. It should fit
as though it were part of the back and belly. An instrument can be
frequently cured of a bad description of tone by the slightest move of
the post. Those subject to what are termed wolfy notes can be remedied
or the bad notes shifted to less important ones. It is a mistake to
suppose there is a particular place for the sound post in all
instruments alike. It depends upon the model of the instrument to a
great extent. High models require the post nearer the foot of the
bridge than flat models. Others require the post thick or thin. The
regulating of the post should only be entrusted to the skilled hand,
and we would impress upon amateurs that it is better never to shift the
post themselves. Many instruments have had the sound holes spoiled and
the surface of the wood inside gored by unskilful tampering with the

6.--The bridge is another very important agent in regulating an
instrument. No general rule will serve for this matter. Some
instruments require the bridge thick, others thin. Some a close grain
and others the contrary. The bridge should be fitted as accurately as
the post, and as though it grew from the belly, the feet touching
equally all round.

7.--Tail pieces are better quite free from ornaments, which frequently
cause the instrument to jar disagreeably.

8.--The strings are of great importance. They should be adjusted to be
in perfect fifths. This is essential, otherwise it is impossible to
play double notes correctly in tune. It may be done with a little
trouble. When the instrument is in tune on the open notes, place the
finger across the strings, for example, at B on the second string, and
F on the first string. If the fifth is imperfect, tune one string a
shade higher, and try again. If then perfect it requires a smaller
string. If not, tune a shade lower than the perfect open fifth, if then
right when tried as before, it requires a thicker string.[1]

      [1] We have seen a little instrument advertised to accomplish
      this important matter without trouble.

      THE PERFECT FIFTH'S GAUGE.--"This useful gauge is marked with
      such precision as to render all strings gauged by it in
      accordance with each other producing perfect fifths, enabling
      the performer to execute passages of double notes with the
      greatest facility and correctness, at the same time effecting a
      considerable saving of time and expense by entirely superseding
      the old method of obtaining fifths by changing the strings." It
      is manufactured and sold by Mr. John Hart, 14, Prince's-street,
      Leicester-square, London.


LARCHE, ---- Brussels, 1847. Copyist of old makers. One of those who
endeavoured to produce an old tone by the use of acid, and consequently
spoiled the wood.

ALBANESI, ---- Cremona, 1737. Similar to Testore of Milan, but broad
pattern. His instruments have a large tone, but poor varnish.

GOBIT, ---- Venice, 1716. Made similar instruments to Ruggerius, and
used beautiful varnish.

GABRIELLI, ---- Florence, 1740. Made excellent Violoncellos, yellow
varnish. Written labels.

ANTONIAZZI, GAETANO, Cremona, 1860. This maker sent a violin to the
Exhibition of 1862, but is much behind his predecessors.

FALCO, ---- Cremona, 1752. Made well proportioned instruments.

HARRIS, CHARLES, London. An admirable workman. His instruments are
among the finest of the English.

GAGLIANO, NICHOLAS, Naples, pupil of Stradiuarius. We have a note
(omitted in its proper place) that this maker excelled in violoncellos,
many of which are covered with fine rich varnish, seldom seen on
instruments by the Gagliano family.

                 *       *       *       *       *

In our notice of Stradiuarius Violins at page 113 we should have said
that William Howard, Esq., of Sheffield, possessed _two_ fine
examples--one as described and the other of the beautiful red varnish,
the latter formerly the property of the celebrated violinist Salomon,
for whom Haydn wrote his twelve grand symphonies.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Violins and Violin Makers - Biographical Dictionary of the Great Italian Artistes, - their Followers and Imitators, to the present time. With - Essays on Important Subjects Connected with the Violin." ***

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