‘Primrose’ Guarneri viola of 1697

In 2012 Tarisio was asked to sell the one of the world’s most famous violas: the ‘Primrose’ Guarneri. Bearing an original label of Andrea Guarneri from 1697, it is the collaborative work of Andrea with his son Giuseppe and is one of only a handful of surviving Guarneri violas. It is built on the ‘contralto’ model perfected by Andrea Guarneri, which has been favored by both makers and players for the past 300 years.

The viola was the main concert instrument of Scottish violist William Primrose for 20 years. It later belonged to one of the principal violists of the Berlin Philharmonic, Ulrich Fritze, who described it as ‘the number one viola in the world’.

The viola sold for over $4 million, the highest price paid for a Guarneri family instrument at auction and the highest publicly recorded price for a viola of any type.

William Primrose