Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1690, the 'Medici, Tuscan (Contralto)'

Viola: 40260

Back: Two-piece

Top: of spruce of very narrow grain in the center

Varnish: Yellow-golden

Length of back: 41.4 cm

Upper bouts: 18.7 cm

Middle bouts: 13.1 cm

Lower bouts: 24.3 cm

There are 28 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


"It [the viola] is worthy in every respect of its surviving companions of the quintet -- the violin and violoncello; wood and varnish are identical with those used for them, although the viola seems a shade lighter in color than the violin."

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

"In 1977 the library received on indefinite loan the 'Tuscan-Medici' Stradivari viola, the property of the Tuscan Foundation."

National Treasure, Philip J. Kass, The Strad, November, 2006, London

"The instrument has six-filled holes in the ribs below the saddle. These holes indicate that either the viola was at one time strung with more than four strings or that a unique type of tailpiece may have been attached to the bottom block at these points. . . ."

On the inside of the top in the treble upper bout, written in pen, is the inscription: 'The Medici Stradivari / AH June 1913.' This corresponds with the Hills acquiring the viola from Mr. Avery Tyrell in 1913, the 'AH' standing for Alfred Hill."

Tuscan-Medici Stradivari; Library of Congress


from 1690 Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de Medici
until 1793 Norris & Barnes
from 1793 Bright
until 1803 Cavaliere Giantighazzi
from 1803 John Betts
Alexander Glennie
F. de Rougemont
1840-1913 Avery Tyrell
from 1913 W. E. Hill & Sons
from 1924 Herbert N. Strauss and wife
from 1956 W. E. Hill & Sons
until 1957 Rembert Wurlitzer Inc.
1957-1960 Cameron Baird
from 1960 Mrs Cameron Baird
Tuscan Foundation
Library of Congress, Washington

Known players

Cameron Baird, Pinchas Zukerman, Samuel Rhodes


  • Antonio Stradivari: His Life & Work (1644-1737), W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, William E. Hill & Sons, London, 1902
  • Capolavori di Antonio Stradivari, Charles Beare, Arnoldo Mondadori S.p.A., Milan (illustrated)
  • Encyclopedia of Violin-Makers, Volume 2, Karel Jalovec, Paul Hamlyn Ltd., London (illustrated)
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • Violins & Violinists, July, 1938, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago (illustrated)
  • Italian Violin Makers (1964), Karel Jalovec, Paul Hamlyn, London, 1964 (illustrated)
  • The Strad, November, 2006, Philip J. Kass, Newsquest Specialist Media, London
  • The Strad, October, 1992, Orpheus, London (illustrated)
  • Private Archives - 10842
  • Wurlitzer Collection of Rare Violins, Violas & Bows, Rudolph Wurlitzer Co., New York (illustrated)
  • Stradivari, Stewart Pollens, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010 (illustrated)
  • Stradivari’s Medici Quintet, part 1, Cozio Carteggio feature, Alessandra Barabaschi (illustrated)
  • Stradivari’s Medici Quintet, part 3, Cozio Carteggio feature, Alessandra Barabaschi (illustrated)
  • The 'Secrets' of Stradivari, Simone Fernando Sacconi, Eric Blot Edizioni, Cremona (illustrated)
  • The History of the Viola, Volume II, Maurice W. Riley (illustrated)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Box 57 (illustrated)
  • The Stringed Instrument Collection in the Library of Congress, Shinichi Yokoyama, Gakken
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)
  • Tuscan-Medici Stradivari; Library of Congress
  • The Strad, October, 1992, Orpheus, London (illustrated)
  • We Love Stradivari, NHK (illustrated)


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