Andrea Guarneri, Cremona, 1697, the 'Primrose, Lord Harrington'

Viola: 32420

Labeled, "Andreas Guarnerius fecit Cremona sub titolo Sanctae Teresiae 1697."

Showing the hand of Joseph Guarneri 'Filius Andrea'.
Read Jason Price's Carteggio feature on this viola.

Back: One-piece, cut on the slab, showing prominent slab markings and small knot formations in the upper area; there are original wings in all four flanks

Top: Spruce, with a broad grain at the center, narrowing and then broadening again at the flanks

Scroll: Original, quarter-cut, with medium-narrow wavy flames

Ribs: Maple cut on the slab, with medium-narrow wavy flames

Varnish: Golden orange

Length of back: 41.3 cm

Upper bouts: 19.3 cm

Middle bouts: 13.4 cm

Lower bouts: 24.5 cm

There are 30 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"However, even though the Primrose viola, which bears its original label of 1697, carries the name of Andrea, the work is clearly that of his youngest son Giuseppe Giovanni Battista Guarneri, generally known as Joseph 'filius' Andrea."

The "Primrose", Robert Bein & Geoffrey Fushi, The "Primrose", Chicago

"After due consideration I attacked pyramid No. 1 [from the Gillott's collection], from which I saw a head protruding which augured well for the body, and led me to think it belonged to the higher walks of Fiddle-life. With considerable care I withdrew it from the heap, and gently rubbed the dust off here and there, that I might judge of its breeding. It needed but little rubbing to make known its character; it was a Viola by Giuseppe Guarneri, filius Andreæ, a charming specimen (now in the ownership of the Earl of Harrington)."

The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, George Hart, The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, London


until 1872 Joseph Gillott
in 1872 Sold by Christie's
1872 - 1920 Charles Windham Stanhope, 7th Earl of Harrington
1881 - 1920 Charles Augustus Stanhope, 8th Earl of Harrington
in 1920 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
1920 - 1925 W. E. Hill & Sons
... ...
in 1931 Antonio Antoncich
... ...
1954 - 1982 William Primrose
until 1955 Rembert Wurlitzer Inc.
until 1978 Gary Vanosdale
in 1978 Sold by Bein & Fushi, Inc
1978 - 2012 Anonymous
in 2012 Sold by Tarisio
from 2012 Current owner

Known players

William Primrose

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Bein & Fushi, Inc, Chicago, IL (1994)
  • Letter: Rembert Wurlitzer Inc., New York, NY (1975)
  • Letter: Arthur Phillips Hill, London (1958) To William Primrose: "It is quite a fine example of the maker whose violas are extremely rare; we have not come across more than three in the whole course of our experience. We would add that we recognize the handiwork of Andrea's son Joseph, concerning whose cooperation with his father we comment upon in our work on the life of the Guarneri family.
  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1925)
  • Letter: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1925)
  • Certificate: Bein & Fushi, Inc, Chicago, IL

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.)


  • Bein & Fushi 1996 Calendar, Bein & Fushi, Inc, Bein & Fushi, Chicago (illustrated)
  • Joseph Gillott, Cozio Carteggio feature, John Dilworth, Feb 2020
  • The Strad, August, 2004, Claudine Bigelow, Newsquest Specialist Media, London (illustrated)
  • The "Primrose", Robert Bein & Geoffrey Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Inc., Chicago (illustrated)
  • Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. V, No. 1, Maurice W. Riley, The Violin Society of America, Flushing, NY (illustrated)
  • The first star of the viola
  • The History of the Viola, Volume I, Maurice W. Riley (illustrated)
  • The Strad 1996 Calendar, Orpheus Publications, London (illustrated)
  • The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family, W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, William E. Hill & Sons, London, 1931 (illustrated)
  • The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, George Hart, Dulau & Co., London


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