(1782 – 1855)
Alessandro D'Espine is one of the more enigmatic makers of the 19th Century Turin school. A nobleman by birth, D'Espine worked as a surgeon and dentist to the nobility, and probably engaged in violin making as a serious hobby rather than as a profession. He almost certainly learned the rudiments of the craft in Paris after 1805, and historical evidence shows that he had a relationship with the Guadagnini ...Read More family, but it's not clear in what capacity. Nevertheless, his work shows considerable talent, and may even have influenced the work of Pressenda.
The general level of D'Espine's craftsmanship is astounding considering his background, though significant elements of construction and varnish are fascinatingly inconsistent. While his choice of models was not bound by any particular tradition, he often used an elongated Stradivari-inspired pattern. Personal details abound, such as oval-shaped f-holes with wide, pointed wings, and small pins placed far from the purfling. Overall his work is attractive and displays genuine personality.
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