VIOLIN, PRAGUE SCHOOL, ca. 1700

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The printed Hellmer label dated 1755 is not original and was previously glued over the illegible remains of an earlier (original?) label. (see photo above)

 

 

This extraordinarily well preserved violin was restored to baroque condition in my workshop in 2007. As yet it is unidentified, but, from my own study of the instrument, it bears a resemblance to the work of some members of the lute and violin making famous Edlinger family. It has been seen by a number of experienced restorers and dealers in Europe, but so far no firm attribution has been made. Suggestions of Dutch or Flemish origins have been raised, based on the presence of whalebone purfling and certain aspects of the model.

The model is clearly based on Stainer and the execution is very assured and individual. The arching is full but not exaggerated and the plates are very well graduated. The edges of the plates are narrow but very well executed, incorporating the purfling to create a refined effect. The scroll is expertly carved direct from the gouge and the fluting and undercutting are very fine.

The instrument retains its original neck, which had been lengthened at the heel. Its original configuration was with the neck and block in one piece, with the sides inset into the heel (see photos).

The curvature of the back of the neck is original and the upper surface of the neck is unaltered. It is interesting to note that it is not stepped around the upper edge of the belly, as is usual on baroque instruments, but rather, is level with the top of the ribs. The neck has been carefully reconstructed following the original marks on the heel, to give a configuration as close as possible to the original condition.

The belly is of 2 pieces of very fine, book matched pine and the back is a single piece of even, deeply flamed maple, well quartered and sloping slightly down to the treble side. The sides are of similar wood, as is the neck and head.

The purfling is of two strips of whalebone with a light wood in between and the liners are of maple, with the centre bout extensions being pointed and set into pine blocks, somewhat in the Mittenwald style.

The varnish is of a clear, golden colour on an amber base and is virtually unaltered from its original state.

Tonally, the instrument is very bright but full and very expressive, with a large dynamic range; a very fine period instrument to suit a demanding professional player.

Price: Offers over $AUD 40,000.00.

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