Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1699, the 'Contessa, Princess de Polignac, Bardsley'


Violin: 40125

Bearing its original label.

Back: One-piece

Top: of medium fine grain

Scroll: of small curl

Ribs: of wood similar to back

Varnish: Light reddish brown

Length of back: 36.3 cm

Upper bouts: 16 cm

Middle bouts: 11 cm

Lower bouts: 20.2 cm

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Notes:

"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

Provenance

in 1871 Princess de Polignac
until 1920 Countess de Chabanne
1920 - 1922 W. E. Hill & Sons
from 1922 Fisher
in 1945 William Bardsley
from 1950 Mark Noble
until 1952 Rembert Wurlitzer Inc.
from 1952 J. Irwin Miller
- Denis East
from 1966 Rembert Wurlitzer Inc.
from 1989 Bernard Goldblatt
- Ben Heineman
- Current owner

Known players

Gil Shaham

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Rembert Wurlitzer Inc., New York, NY (1952)
  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1945)

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

  • Bein & Fushi 1990 Calendar, Bein & Fushi, Inc, Bein & Fushi, Chicago (illustrated)
  • Footlights, New York Times, April 2000
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • In Focus: Giuseppe 'Filius Andreae' Guarneri, the ‘Koskoff’, The Strad, June 2009
  • Stradivarius-Guarnerius del Gesù: Catalogue descriptif de leurs instruments (Facsimile of Gand's notes from 1870-91), Charles-Eugène Gand, Les Amis de la Musique, Spa
  • The Strad, November, 2004, Newsquest Specialist Media, London (illustrated)

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