Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1688, the 'Mercury, Avery'


Violin: 40205

Original label

Back: Two-piece

Top: of fine grain

Varnish: Golden-brown

Length of back: 35.6 cm

Upper bouts: 16.4 cm

Middle bouts: 11.0 cm

Lower bouts: 20.5 cm

There are 3 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


Notes:

George Mougenot published a monograph on this instrument in 1892, entitled "Description du superbe violon de Stradivari, dit 'le Mercure'".

How Many Strads, Ernest N. Doring, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago, 1945


"The violin first appeared before the public in the exhibition of musical instruments at the Royal Aquarium, Westminster, in October, 1892, where it was shown under the fantastic title of 'The Mercury,' by Messrs. Paul Bailly and Son, the French violin-makers who have, we understand, recently left this country."

Observations, E. Polonaski (editor), The Violin Times


"The "Mercury" has never been repaired, save as to the usual changes of neck and bass-bar, necessary in all the old fiddles by reason of the rise in pitch. Early in the present century this magnificent violin was in the possession of the Viscount de Bioley, an eminent manufacturer at Verviers in Belgium. He left it to his grandson, Count Van der Straeten-Ponthoz, of Brussels, who was not a violinist, and for a long time no one played upon the instrument but the late Prince de Chimay, who alone had access to it, and he but seldom. M. Georges Mougenot, violin maker to the Brussels Conservatoire, was at length called in to examine the violin ; he at once offered to buy it, and it passed into his keeping. This unique specimen, free from the ruinous butchery of the repairer, was at length bought by Mr. J. Williams, of Walsall, who is the happy possessor of one of the finest violins in the world."

The 'Mercury' Strad, The Strad, 1893, London

Provenance

- Vicomte de Bioley
in 1878 Count van der Straeten-Ponthoz
- Gand & Bernardel, Freres
- Georges Mougenot
in 1893 J. Williams
in 1893 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
... ...
in 1900 Tivador Nachèz
... ...
in 1907 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
until 1909 Sir William Avery
in 1909 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
from 1909 Felix Herrmann
until 1912 Hamma & Co.
1912 - 1924 Dr. Paul Hellmann
1924 - 1928 Emil Herrmann
... ...
in 1952 Mrs. Gladys Rice Saltonstall (Billings)
- Sold by Georg Rauer
in 1937 Sold by Emil Herrmann
... ...
in 1945 Sold by Emil Herrmann
... ...
in 2004 Current owner

Known players

Jonathan Carney

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Hamma & Co., Stuttgart
  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London
  • Certificate: Emil Herrmann

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

  • Alte Geigen (Hamma, circa 1910), Hamma & Co., Stuttgart, 1910 (illustrated)
  • Berühmte Geigen und ihre Schicksale, P. J. Tonger, Köln, 1919 (illustrated)
  • Emil Herrmann Papers, 1910-1947, The Jacques Francais Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998 (Box 90), Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Encyclopedia of Violin-Makers, Volume 2, Karel Jalovec, Paul Hamlyn Ltd., London, 1968 (illustrated)
  • How Many Strads?, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago, 1945 (illustrated)
  • Italian Violin-Makers (1952), Karel Jalovec, Orbis, Prague, 1952 (illustrated)
  • L'Esposizione di Liuteria Antica a Cremona nel 1937, Comitato Stradivariano, Cremona, 1938 (illustrated)
  • Meister Italienischer Geigenbaukunst (8th Edition), Walter Hamma, Florian Noetzel Verlag, Wilhelmshaven, 1993 (illustrated)
  • Meisterwerke Italienischer Geigenbaukunst, Fridolin Hamma, Hamma & Co., 1932 (illustrated)
  • The Violin Times, E. Polonaski (editor), February 15, 1894
  • Puttick & Simpson advertisement
  • Sale
  • Sotheby's - Search http://www.sothebys.com/en/search.html?ex_currency=USD&startDate=01%2F01%2F1900&endDate=17%2F07%2F2013&ex_saleNumber=CH7503&ex_lotNumber=114&ex_soldPR=soldPR#keywords=
  • Stradivarius-Guarnerius del Gesù: Catalogue descriptif de leurs instruments
  • The Strad, 1893, London, September
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (illustrated)
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, New York, 1972 (illustrated)

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