The ex-Milanollo Francesco Ruggeri, Cremona, c. 1680

April 18th, 2010

Previously known in the 19th and 20th centuries as the work of the Brothers Amati from circa 1620, contemporary scholarship now recognizes this fine Cremonese violin as the work of Francesco Ruggeri from circa 1680.

Lot 397 Francesco Ruggeri

This violin is historically significant as the concert instrument of the Italian child prodigy Maria Milanollo (1832-1848). Maria and her sister Teresa (1827-1904) were born in Savigliano near Turin and began studying music at an early age. Their precocious talent was quickly recognized and in 1837 the family moved to Paris to study with Lafont and later de Bériot.

Maria & Teresa Milanollo

The two sisters gave many concerts together and toured extensively playing in all the major halls of Europe. From early on, their double-act earned the respect of serious critics and garnered the attention and support of many of Europe’s leading musicians including the Italian double bass virtuoso Domenico Dragonetti.

Domenico Dragonetti

It was Dragonetti who supplied both sisters with their concert instruments: Teresa with her 1728 Stradivarius and Maria with this Ruggeri. Sadly, Maria contracted Tuberculosis in October 1848 and died suddenly at the young age of 16.

This handsome violin is built on a smaller pattern typical of Francesco Ruggeri. The modeling is Amatise with its elegant corners (1) and compact f-holes with neatly tapered wings (2). The arching (3&4) is strong but low and quite advanced in concept. The head (5 & 6) is typical of this maker and in this example the edges (7) and center ridge (8) of the dorsal side are still extremely crisp and show few signs of wear. Full rib heights and strong arching make this an excellent soloist instrument, particularly for someone with smaller hands.

This violin is available at the public viewings in New York and Boston before the sale as well as by appointment in our New York offices during April. To make an appointment, email or call +1 212 307 7224.