"The Countess Polignac is different from most other Stradivari in that she is slimmer and slightly longer, making her even rarer and of greater value. 'Between 1690 and 1700, Antonio Stradivari was experimenting with a longer shape. He was such a genius that even when he tried out a different size, it still sounds like magic,' says Shaham. The quality of the sound is the thing. They're so beautifully made, the varnish, the glow, they're so beautiful to look at."
"The label reads 1699, but the last digit has been re-made."
Stradivarius-Guarnerius del Gesù: Catalogue descriptif de leurs instruments, Charles-Eugène Gand, Stradivarius-Guarnerius del Gesù: Catalogue descriptif de leurs instruments (Facsimile of Gand's notes from 1870-91), Spa
In Charles Gand’s Catalogue descriptif (p.61) he identifies, in 1871, a Madame la Princesse de Polignac (Paris) in connection with this violin. However, it is unclear to which member of the extended Polignac family he refers. Doring’s ‘How Many Strads’ indicates that the Princesse de Polignac was Marie-Adolphine Langenberger (1852-1876), mother of the subsquent owner, the Comtesse de Chabannes-La Palice. This is incorrect since Marie-Adolphine did not marry Prince Camille de Polignac until 1874.
The most likely candidate is Marie-Louise-Amélie Berton des Balbes de Crillon (1823-1904) who married Jules-Armand-Melchior (Polignac) (1817-1890) in 1842. Jules-Armand became the 2e Prince de Polignac in 1847; Marie-Louise therefore became Madame la Princesse de Polignac and still held that title in 1871.
Thanks to Nicholas Sackman for information about the Polignac family.
The British violist Denis East traded the ‘Koskoff’ Guarneri ‘filius Andreae’ as payment towards the ‘Countess Polignac’ Stradivari.
In Focus: Giuseppe 'Filius Andreae' Guarneri, the ‘Koskoff’, The Strad, June 2009, Christopher Reuning, The Strad, June, 2009, London