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

There is 1 additional image in the archive which is not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"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 1871 Gand’s Notebook lists a ‘Mme. La Princesse de Polignac (Paris)’ in connection to this violin. However, it is unclear to which member of the family he refers, as no Princess de Polignac was alive in 1871. Doring’s ‘How Many Strads’ indicates that the Princess de Polignac was Marie Adolfine Langenberger (1852-1876), mother of the subsquent owner, the Countess de Chabanne. This appears to be incorrect given that Marie Adolfine Langenberger did not marry the Prince of Polignac until 1874.

The most likely candidate is Princess Yolande de Polignac (1830-1855), aunt of the Countess de Chabanne, who may have been mentioned to Gand as a former owner of the violin.

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


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.)


  • 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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