Violin by matthias hornsteiner (ii), mittenwald, 1795
This violin, from the year 1795, is labelled and signed by Matthias (II) Hornsteiner, arguably the most gifted of the Hornsteiner family. It is a very observant and carefully executed copy of Jacobus Stainer, with carefully thicknessed plates and well executed detail work. Body and scroll belong together and, though badly repaired in the past, the body retains a large amount of very good quality Mittenwald style varnish and most of its original constructional features. The central portions of both front and back are in good order and there are no soundpost or bassbar cracks.
This instrument has been recently restored in my workshop and has been returned as closely as possible to its original classical set-up of 1795. The modern bassbar, when removed, revealed a very clear footprint of the original shorter and narrower bar, which has been reconstructed based on measurements of original Mittenwald and Viennese bassbars from the Schreinzer collection in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg.
The button was missing and was replaced with new wood as seen in the restoration photos below. The inner wing of the treble FF hole had been cut away and was built up again to match the original outlines of the bass FF hole.
A heavy layer of an unoriginal brown stain – possibly walnut – was removed from the inside of the instrument.
The lower edge of the belly required half-edging and piecing of the lower block area. The sides were disassembled to permit work on the back and belly. The liners and corner blocks show clearly the characteristic Mitenwald style of fitting centre bout liners into corner blocks with the spine insert. The neck block was badly damaged and needed to be replaced. The tail block was unoriginal and poorly fitted. All corner blocks and liners are original and in good order.
Remains of a parchment centre strip, probably original, were present and so, a parchment strip was reinserted to reinforce the back centre join. Parchment centre joint reinforcement is not uncommon in Mittenwald violins of this period. The head and scroll are original but were grafted to a modern neck. A neck of classical Viennese proportions was spliced on to the head and a classical (ca. 1800) Viennese set up was chosen for this instrument.
Pegs and button were made in boxwood and the fingerboard was veneered with ebony on a pine core. The tailpiece is solid ebony. Fingerboard length was determined from original varnishing marks on the belly (see photos).
The violin is now fully playable and has responded very well to the restoration, revealing the strong, bright Stainer-like tonal characteristics one would expect of such a good copy.
Price: $AUD 25,000.00