Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1696, the 'Prince Gursky'


Cello: 40594

Label was dated 1710 in 1922, but was later replaced by a 1696 label, probably by Emil Herrmann: "Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1696."

Back: Two-piece

Top: of medium grain, widening towards the flanks

Ribs: of wood similar to back

Varnish: Red over a golden ground

Length of back: 74 cm

Upper bouts: 33.8 cm

Middle bouts: 23.35 cm

Lower bouts: 43.6 cm

There are 36 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


Notes:

The title pays homage to the czarist prince who fled the Russian Revolution in 1922 with the cello disassembled and its parts smuggled out in his baggage.

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


"Expert X questioned whether the scroll and ribs belonged. He valued at $1,000,000 to $1,500,000. . . .Beare valued at $400,000 and stated unsure what is Stradivarius. . . . Crane questioned the scroll and noted a massive top patch."

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Report of the Trustee Review Panel concerning the Golden Age Collection, December 16, 2004


"This instrument is said to have been disassembled and smuggled out of Russia by Prince Anatol Gursky after the Revolution. The instrument was reputedly reassembled in Germany in 1922 by Emil Herrmann, though this work may have been done by Otto Möckel, as he issued the first certificate. Curiously, the Möckel certificate indicates the label is dated 1710, but Herrmann’s certificate states that the label is dated 1696, as it appears today. This cello is similar in wood, varnish, and proportions to the Lord Aylesford Stradivari cello dated 1696."

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Collection brochure from Violin Advisor, LLC


"It seems likely that E. Herrmann swapped the 1710 label for one that he considered more in line with the characteristics of the instrument. In fact, the 'Prince Gursky' bears a significant resemblance to the 'Lord Aylesford' cello of 1696." – 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

Provenance

until 1922 Prince Anatol Gurski
1922 - 1946 Emil Herrmann
1946 - 1998 Robert Earl Bass
in 1998 Machold Rare Violins, Ltd
1998 - 2003 Dr Herbert R. Axelrod
2003 - 2007 Current owner

Known players

Jonathan Spitz

Certificates & Documents

  • Insurance valuation: Machold Rare Violins, Ltd, Vienna (2002) Values the instrument at $3 million.
  • Certificate: Machold Rare Violins, Ltd, Vienna (1998) "It is original in all of its essential parts like table, back, ribs, and scroll."
  • Certificate: Emil Herrmann (1946) States that the label is dated 1696. ". . . a characteristic specimen of this period and a sister instrument to the famous Lord Aylesford cello of 1696”
  • Certificate: Otto Möckel, Berlin (1928) States that the cello contains a label dated 1710. "This cello labeled “Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1710” is a work of Stradivarius’s so called golden period. It shows all of the typical characteristics of Stradivarius’s work. The original varnish has the characteristic red slightly mixed with light brown which is typical for his work after 1700. The cello shows perfect measurements and is built in the long shape. The instrument still has its original varnish except for a few spots where it has been repaired and retouched. All repairs have been done by Appraisers."

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

  • 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)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999 (illustrated)
  • New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Collection brochure from Violin Advisor, LLC, April, 2007
  • New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Report of the Trustee Review Panel concerning the Golden Age Collection, December 16, 2004
  • Antonio Stradivari, Violoncello, Cremona 1696, Ex-Prince Gursky, Amati, New York (illustrated)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • The Secrets of Musical Sound
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)

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