Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1707, the 'Castelbarco'


Violin: 23176

Labeled, "Antonio Stradivarius, Cremonensis, 1707..."

The top early 19th century, attributed to the work of Nicolas Lupot. The head 18th century Italian work, attributed to Matteo Goffriller. The ribs either belonging with the back or the head.

Back: One-piece

Top: by a later hand, possibly by Vuillaume or Lupot

Scroll: 18th-century Italian

Ribs: 18th-century Italian

Length of back: 35.5 cm

Upper bouts: 16.9 cm

Middle bouts: 11.2 cm

Lower bouts: 20.7 cm

There are 2 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


Notes:

"The original broad-flamed one-piece back is unmistakably by Antonio Stradivari at the height of his powers. We see similar wood used in the 'Emiliani' violin of 1703, the 'Marsick' of 1705 and the 'Joest' also of 1705. The arching of the back is bold and confident; the edgework and purfling are refined and fluid; the original varnish is abundant in the fluting of the C-bouts and is deep orange-red over a typical Stradivari golden ground.

The origin of the top, ribs and head of this violin is the source of some speculation. The top was almost certainly made in France in the early part of the 19th century and has been variously attributed to both Nicolas Lupot and Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, although contemporary expertise suggests it is more likely the work of the former. The replacement may have been necessitated by an accident or it may be the result of the clever assembly of various components, an ignoble practice which was unfortunately far too common in the early 19th century. Interestingly, the later parts are not mentioned by either David Laurie or Nicolas François Vuillaume in any of the letters and receipts accompanying the sale of the violin in 1875. But of course it is possible that neither recognized these parts as replacements and the omission was accidental, or the issue may have been addressed elsewhere but not in the surviving documents.

The ribs and the finely carved head of the violin are of attractive maple and appear to be 18th century Italian in origin, but do not belong to either the top or the back. The lower rib was originally made in two pieces, which rules out most classical Cremonese work, and the miter-joints are more pinched and less compact than Stradivari ribs of the period. The ears of the head have been altered and recut to appear more Strad-like in profile, which has obscured what might have been usable clues as to its maker. It is possible that the ribs and scroll belong together, as the maple used for the ribs is almost identical to that of the head, and both are plainer, with a more irregular flame than that of the back. It has been suggested that they are the work of Matteo Gofriller, although a conclusive attribution is elusive.

The violin is accompanied by an interesting series of documents from the spring of 1875. Beginning on April 28 of that year, Nicolas François Vuillaume of Brussels, the brother of Jean Baptiste, "sold and delivered" the violin to Mr. David Laurie of Glasgow. In the accompanying certificate of the same date, N. F. Vuillaume describes Count Castelbarco’s frequent use of the violin during "quartet parties," occasions upon which he no doubt had his choice of instruments."

Cozio Carteggio

Provenance

until 1862 Count Cesare Castelbarco
until 1862 David Laurie
... ...
in 1871 Robert Butter Malcolm
- Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
until 2011 Anonymous
in 2011 Sold by Tarisio
from 2011 Current owner

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: David Laurie, Glasgow (1875) To Mr. R. Butler Malcolm.
  • Certificate: David Laurie, Glasgow (1875) To Mr. R. Butler Malcolm.
  • Letter: N. F. Vuillaume, Brussels (1875) To David Laurie, claims that the violin came from the collection of the Comte de Castelbarco and was the violin he most preferred to play at his quartet parties.
  • Letter certificate: N. F. Vuillaume, Brussels (1875)
  • Receipt: David Laurie (photocopy), Glasgow To R. Butter Malcolm.

Cozio holds copies of many certificates and other documents, some of which are available to view on request. Please contact us if you wish to view a particular document. (Note that we do not always have permission to share documents.)

References

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