"A great Amati viola, an uncut Amati viola -- an early uncut contralto Amati viola, lies quietly in a cheap plastic case in the storeroom of a provincial Italian city....But the 'Messiah' this is not: there are several cracks in the table and unsightly ones on the back and ribs. It has obviously been used, but it appears to have been almost untouched for the last 200 years, and the varnish is magnificent...The Galleria is unable to trace any documentation concerning its provenance or acquisition, and the only evidence is a repair label of Jacob Steininger of Mainz, dated 1795. The Amati label, dated 1620, has to be viewed with skepticism. It is suspiciously clean despite being in close proximity to the crudely fixed crack which runs three-quarters of the length of the back."
Uncut Diamond, John Dilworth, The Strad, June, 2001, London