Andrea Guarneri, Cremona, 1676, the 'Conte Vitale'

Viola: 40793

Bearing its original label, "Andreas Guarnerins fecit Cremonæ sub titulo / Sanctæ Teresie 1676."

Back: Two-piece

Varnish: Yellow

Length of back: 41.9 cm

Upper bouts: 19.6 cm

Middle bouts: 13.8 cm

Lower bouts: 24.2 cm

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


"Once described by Alfred Hill as one of the finest Italian instruments in existence, this viola was in 1816 examined by Count Cozio di Salabue, who noted that the initials "S.V." and the crest on the button of the back were those of the Count Vitale of Milano .. The instrument was made in collaboration with Andrea's son Pietro, whose neat hand is certainly seen in the edgework and purfling. Pietro would shortly leave for Mantua."

I Centenari Dei Guarneri, I Centenari Dei Guarneri: 1698-1998, Cremona

"Count Cozio di Salabue's diary of 1 April 1816 gives the first histroical evidence of this beautiful viola. It notes that it belonged to the Count Vitale of Milan, whose crest and initials 'S.V.' it still bears on the button. Before this Carlo Mantegazza kengthened and reset the original neck, leaving four nail holes still visible in the reshaped neck root."

Defining the classic, Thomas Martin & Martin Lawrence, The Strad, October, 1996, London

Count Cozio's notes, April 1, 1816: "Medium model, as the viola owned by Mr. Sirone. It is intact in its parts, but with only two cracks along the grain of the C-bout area on the treble side. Two-piece top, with uneven grain; the thick wood seems to be local. Two-piece back in maple with […] almost at the slab, with two dowels, one above the other, outside of the purfling […] towards the patch. The button is a little more than half a circle; a coat of arms, describing a crossed field with a crown of a count, between the letters "S.V." is there engraved. Monzino affirms that he received it from the count Vitale, who lives in Milan. The sides are of hard wood, with tight uneven, but visible, grain; it seems to be local wood. Back and top have good purfling, similar to that of the violin. New bass bar; it is well inserted and it is said to be made by […]. The sides are quite high, but very tight; similarly both for back and top. There is no sign of yielding in any part. It looks like no wood has been removed, nor that other parts have been added, not even for the back. High linings and block of red willow […] are naturally cambered. Light yellow-brownish varnish, like in my violin […] made by Nicola Amati. The sides are quite high, but very tight; fluting all around their insides. The neck is also original and made by the maker in the […] as the back. The scroll is good and wellproportioned, made in [the same]hard wood as the sides; it is sufficiently open.. . . The F-holes are like the viola owned by Mr. Sirone, but less open and almost at the same distance; however they are not good work. Model similar to Sirone's. The voice is quite good, but it does not seem to have a full voice; certainly it has less voice than Sirone's […]" (p.230)

Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Baltimore


Conte Vitale
in 1816 Giacomo Antonio Monzino
until 1829 Sir William Curtis
from 1829 George Curtis
until 1875 Massa Alsager
from 1875 W. E. Hill & Sons
in 1885 John McGowan
until 1912 W. E. Hill & Sons
... ...
from 1912 and in 1931 Dr. Felix Landau
until 1947 Margaret Abraham
from 1947 Mrs. Olga Pertzoff
in 1996 Oxford Violins
... ...
in 2002 Anonymous
... ...
from 2019 Current owner

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: W. E. Hill & Sons, London (1912) "One of the finest Italian instruments in existence. . ."

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.)


  • The Strad, October, 1996, John Dilworth, Orpheus, London (illustrated)
  • The Strad, October, 1996, Thomas Martin & Martin Lawrence, Orpheus, London
  • The Strad, June, 1989, John Dilworth, London (illustrated)
  • I Centenari Dei Guarneri: 1698-1998, Consorzio Liutai e Archettai "Antonio Stradivai", Cremona (illustrated)
  • Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Brandon Frazier, Baltimore
  • The Violin Makers of the Guarneri Family, W. Henry, Arthur F. & Alfred E. Hill, William E. Hill & Sons, London, 1931 (illustrated)
  • The Strad, May, 1996, John Dilworth, Orpheus, London (illustrated)
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)


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