The name derives from Giovanni Mara, a second-rate cellist, whose main claim to fame was that he had the good fortune to marry Gertrude Elizabeth Schmöhling, one of the premier violinists at the turn of the century. Mara is generally described as a drunkard, and his wife divorced him in 1799.
How Many Strads?, Ernest N. Doring, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago, 1945
Exhibited at the South Kensington Invesntions Exhibition in 1885.
Celebrated Violins and Their Owners, Eugene Polonaski, edited by E. Polanski, London, 1897
"He [Baldovino] had parted with his old and mythical companion, the 'Mara' Stradivari of 1711 after selling it to Heinrich Schiff a few years before, but the cello's anecdotes went on. . . One in particular is that of the 1963 shipwreck in the river Rio De La Plata, involving the Trio De Trieste in hours of frozen waters, fires on board, lives lost (all the stuff in a second rate American movie) and then the miraculous recovery of the 'Mara' cello!"
Il Violincello Mainardi-Baldovino, Claude Lebet, Edizioni dell'Ariete, 1999
"Mara, the husband of the gifted Madame Mara, was a good player, but a drunken fellow, and behaved ill to his wife. He brought over a fine instrument of this maker, the tone of which was everything that could be desired, especially that of the first string, it was musical aud rich, with much power ; the figure or mottle of the wood was extremely beautiful. It is believed that Mr. Crossdill purchased this instrument from Mara, and that he sold it at the beginning of the present century to General Bosville, afterwards Lord Macdonald. His son disposed of it to Mr. Lucas, who played on it for some time at the Italian Opera, where he succeeded Lindley
as principal violoncellist, and subsequently parted with it to Mr. John Whitmore Isaac, of Worcester."
The History of the Violin and Other Instruments Played On With the Bow From the Remotest Times to the Present, William Sandys and Simon Andrew Forster, John Russell Smith, London, 1864
"Photographs of the parts of this instrument, which became severely damages as a result of being immersed in water, due to the sinking of the ship off the river Plate on which Mr. Baldovino was travelling. The instrument was subsquently restored by us at a cost of £1000."
W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive, W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive