"Part of a set of instruments prepared for an unidentified Italian noble. Originally a tenor viola, the instrument has been considerably reduced in both width and length."
Capolavari di Andrea Amati, Charles Beare, Bruce Carlson & Andrea Mosconi, Capolavori di Andrea Amati, Cremona
"Described and illustrated in "The Strad" in March 1925, pp. 705 & 706 and in August 1959, pp. 118 & 119. The instrument has been reduced in size with the resulting loss of part of the motto, an approximate translation of which would be 'religion stands firm and will continue to stand on one (sure) defence'. It has unfortunately proved impossible to conclusively identify the person for whom Andrea Amati made this viola beyond saying that he must have been a member of a noble Italian family of the rank of marquis."
Sotheby's Important Musical Instruments Auction Catalog, November 5, 1981, London, Sotheby's, Sotheby's Important Musical Instruments Auction Catalog, November 5, 1981, London, London
"There is no label."
The surviving instruments of Andrea Amati, Laurence C. Witten II, Early Music
"I don't know if the Museum is aware of it, but the varnish on the front is all by us."
Guided Tour through the Shrine to Music's Galleries, Charles Beare, Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. XII, No. 2, Flushing, NY
This viola bears a motto on the ribs, QVO VNICO PROPVGNACVLO STAT
STABITQVE RELIGIO, "by this one bulwark religion stands and will stand." For many years scholars have searched for this motto as that of an individual, but in light of the surviving viola in Paris with the same motto and combined armorials of Phillip II and the Valois family, it was more likely made for the marriage of the Spanish king and the daughter of the French king, unifying the great French catholic royal courts against the incursions of Protestantism. The remains of the original armorial of King Phillip partially remain toward the edges of the current central painting on the back, which may be the monogram of his sister-in-law Marguerite of Valois. The viola was cut down in size in the 19th century, while preserving the original corners in the new outline.
Andrea Amati viola; Shrine to Music Museum