Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, c. 1720, the 'Kux, Castelbarco'


Viola: 41473

Labeled, "Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis, faciebat anno 1715."

The top made by Stradivari originally as a cornered viola d'amore and later converted to a viola by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume; the back by Vuillaume made in c. 1850; the head by Nicolo Amati, c. 1620.

Read Jason Price's Carteggio feature on this viola.

Back: made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in circa 1850, in one piece of quarter cut maple with medium-width flame ascending from the treble side.

Top: by Stradivari, in two pieces of spruce with narrow-width grain broadening toward the edges.

Scroll: by Nicolo Amati in circa 1620, of similar wood to the back.

Ribs: by Stradivari, of similar wood to the back.

Varnish: of a reddish orange-brown color, slightly lighter and more golden brown on the head.

Length of back: 40.7 cm

Upper bouts: 18.5 cm

Middle bouts: 12.5 cm

Lower bouts: 24.15 cm

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Notes:

"A sale held in London in 1862 of the Stradivarius owned by collector Count Castelbarco of Milan listed and sold two cellos, two violins, and a viola "transformed from a viol". The latter instrument was in fact designed and made by Stradivari as a viola d'amore. It was converted into a viola by J B Vuillaume, removing the orginal flat back and replacing it with a new swell back, in keeping with Stradivari's style.

The instrument was originally made with sloping shoulders, which were cut to form the conventional viola shape, while the ribs were lowered by around 15 mm. It now has a beautiful 'Brothers' Amati head, with a heavy blackened chamfer no doubt added by Vuillaume to give a more Stradivarian feeling. Fortunately the original viola d'amore head, which accomodates 12 pegs, found its way to the Museé de la Musique in Paris, where it was identified by Charles Beare."

Cremona Fiddles, Charles Reade, Pall Mall Gazette, London


"It was in fact designed and made by Stradivari as a viola d'amore and the work involved in converting it into a viola included removing the original flat back and replacing it with a new swell back which is highly figured and sylistically in keeping with the table. . . .

The original viola d'amore head, which is now housed at the Musée de la Musique in Paris along with other pieces from Vuillaume's workshop, is of an interesting and compact design made to accommodate twelve pegs. . . ."

One of a kind, David Rattray, The Strad, January, 1997, London

Provenance

1737 - 1775 Paolo Stradivari
1775 - c. 1805 Antonio II Stradivari
... ...
in c. 1850 Sold by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume
in c. 1850 Count Cesare Pompeo Castelbarco
... ...
in 1862 Sold by Puttick & Simpson
from 1862 Charles Hood Chichele Plowden
c. 1870 - c. 1887 Charles Wesley Doyle
in 1887 Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
1887 - 1892 David Johnson
in 1892 Sold by W. E. Hill & Sons
1892 - c. 1897 John Troutbeck
in 1897 Sold by George Withers
from 1897 Fridolin Hamma
until 1914 Dr. Leopold Geismar
from 1914 Wilhelm Kux
in 1958 Rembert Wurlitzer Inc.
1958 - c. 1968 Benjamin Cooper
from 1968 Anonymous
until 2022 Anonymous
in 2022 Sold by Tarisio
from 2022 Current owner

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Tarisio, London (2022)
  • Dendrochronology report: Peter Ratcliff, London (2022) Dates the latest ring of the bass and treble side as 1683 and 1682, respectively. Printed report available for purchase upon request.
  • Certificate: Rembert Wurlitzer Inc. (photocopy), New York, NY (1958)
  • Dendrochronology report: Henri Grissino-Mayer, P. Sheppard & M. Cleaveland Dating the youngest tree ring to from 1683.

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

  • Antonio Stradivari - Catalogue of the 2008 Exhibit in Montpelier, Peter Biddulph, Frédéric Chaudière & John Dilworth, Musée Fabre / Actes Sud, Montpelier (illustrated)
  • Pall Mall Gazette, Charles Reade, London, August 19, 1872
  • How Many Strads? (1999 edition), Doring, Bein & Fushi, Bein & Fushi, Chicago, 1999
  • Masterpieces of Italian Violin Making, David Rattray, Outline Press, London (illustrated)
  • Museum & Collections - What’s on - Royal Academy of Music
  • The Strad, January, 1997, David Rattray, Orpheus, London (illustrated)
  • Stradivari Varnish: Scientific Analysis of his Finishing Technique on Selected Instruments, Brigitte Brandmair & Stefan-Peter Greiner (illustrated)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari 1644-1737, Herbert K. Goodkind, Larchmont, NY (illustrated)
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)

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