Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1687, the 'Ole Bull'

Violin: 40239

Bearing its original label.

Back: of broad curl in one piece

Top: one-piece, with the grain widening towards the treble side

Length of back: 35.6 cm

Upper bouts: 16.95 cm

Middle bouts: 10.95 cm

Lower bouts: 20.95 cm

There are 16 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"The 'Hellier' and the instrument known as the Spanish Stradivari, dated 1679 and 1687 respectively, have backs of broad curl in one piece; the latter is exceptionally handsome, and both are of wood of foreign (i.e. non-Italian, growth)." (p. 43)

Antonio Stradivarius: His Life & Work, W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, Antonio Stradivari: His Life & Work (1644-1737), London

According to Doring, this instrument is misnamed because it was not one of the ones made for the Spanish court. The name was given by Ole Bull, who mistakenly took it for one of the Spanish quintet.

How Many Strads?, Doring, Bein & Fushi, Doring, Bein & Fushi, How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Chicago

"[in 1883] the Hills sold the violin to Mr. Charles James Oldham of Brighton, who owned a superb quartet of Stradivari, which he bequeathed to the British Museum. In 1912 the British Museum, following public protests, refused the gift and the instrument returned to the Hills." – Alessandra Barabaschi

Antonius Stradivarius (Volumes I-IV), Jost Thöne, Jan Röhrmann, Alessandra Barabaschi, Jost Thöne, Jan Röhrmann, Alessandra Barabaschi, Antonius Stradivarius (Volumes I-IV), Cologne


- Sold by Jacques Français
1844 - 1861 Ole Bull
in 1861 John Hart
1861 - 1867 Charles Hood Chichele Plowden
1867 - 1883 Joseph Hulse
in 1883 Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
in 1883 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
1883 - 1912 Charles James Oldham
in 1912 Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
in 1912 Paul Kochanski's father-in-law
1912 - 1935 Paul Kochánski
in 1935 Sold by Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.
1935 - 1950 Samuel S. Fels
1950 - 1951 Iso Briselli
in 1951 Sold by William Moennig & Son
from 1951 Dr Donald Haff
until 1981 David Lloyd Kreeger
in 1981 Sold by Jacques Français
1981 - 1997 Dr Herbert R. Axelrod
from 1997 Smithsonian Institution Museum

Known players

Iso Briselli, Ole Bull, Paul Kochánski

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Jacques Français, New York, NY (1967)
  • Certificate: Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., Cincinnati, OH (1935)
  • Letter: Alfred E. Hill, London (1926) To Paul Kochansky: "This violin was, at one time, known as 'The Spanish Stradivari,' but it is in no way connected with the set of instruments belonging to the court of Spain, which consisted of five 'Stradivaris', two violins, two violas, and a 'cello all ornamented in a way similar to yours. . . . It is possible that your violin may have been one of those made for the Marchese Carbonelli of Mantua: this is pure conjecture on my part, inasmuch as we have failed to trace any connection between this nobleman and violins, in our researches at Mantua."
  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1925)

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.)


  • Antonio Stradivari: l'estetica sublime, Maurizio Villa, Consorzio Liutai Antonio Stradivari, Cremona (illustrated)
  • Antonio Stradivari: His Life & Work (1644-1737), W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, William E. Hill & Sons, London, 1902
  • Antonius Stradivarius (Volumes I-IV), Jost Thöne, Jan Röhrmann, Alessandra Barabaschi, Jost Thöne Verlag, Cologne, 2010 (illustrated)
  • Evelyn & Herbert Axelrod Stringed Instrument Collection, Herbert Axelrod (illustrated)
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • Violins & Violinists, June, 1938, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago (illustrated)
  • Private Archives - 10746
  • The 'Secrets' of Stradivari, Simone Fernando Sacconi, Eric Blot Edizioni, Cremona (illustrated)
  • The Dr. Herbert Axelrod Stradivari Quartet, Jacques Français, New York (illustrated)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)
  • The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, George Hart, Dulau & Co., London (illustrated)
  • We Love Stradivari, NHK (illustrated)


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