"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