Antonio & Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1619

Viola: 42132

Back: Two-piece

Scroll: original, with Medici brand on the under side of the scroll

Length of back: 41.9 cm

Upper bouts: 20.2 cm

Lower bouts: 24.9 cm

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"First amongst these other gems I may mention a viola, dated 1619 ; the work of Antonius and Hieronymus Amati. It is one of the most beautiful things of its kind I have ever seen, and has a tone which is beyond my powers of description. It is in a very perfect state ; measures sixteen and a half inches in length, and has the flattish arching which appears in all the tenors by the Amati brothers which have come my way. The head of this tenor is a wonderful piece of cutting, and has none of the somewhat primitive appearance which characterises those on some of the instruments bearing the brothers' label, but which are supposed to be the work of Antonius, the elder brother."

The Harvey Collection of Bow Instruments, Towry Piper, The Strad, 1923, London

"According to Messrs. Hill the specimen was undoubtedly originally in the set of Amati instruments at the Pitti Palace in Florence, which were made to the order of Cosimo de Medici. This assumption is confirmed by the brand—a ducal coronet with a circle underneath - which appears upon the shell of the scroll, and is very clearly defined in the photograph reproduced in the centre of our plate.

This particular Cosimo de Medici was the second bearing that Christian name, and died in 1621 at the early age of 30. He is chiefly remembered as the patron and protector of the great astronomer, Galileo, to whom he gave the appointment of Court Astronomer in the year 1610. The date on the label of the Harvey viola is 1619, so that, if this is correct, the instrument must have been completed only two years before the death of Cosimo."

A Viola by Antonius and Hieronymus Amati, Towry Piper, The Strad, 1924, London


1619-1621 Cosimo II de Medici
Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de Medici
until 1920 W. E. Hill & Sons
from 1920 F. Lochen
in 1923 Captain John Audley Harvey
until 1925 W. E. Hill & Sons
1925-1926 Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.
in 1926 Felix M. Warburg
from 1926 Rudolph Wurlitzer Co.
until 1931 W. E. Hill & Sons
from 1931 Dr. Hans Kühne
in 1993 Current owner


  • The Strad, 1924, Towry Piper, London, Jul 1924 (illustrated)
  • Violins & Violinists, May-June, 1942, Ernest N. Doring, William Lewis & Son, Chicago (illustrated)
  • The Strad, 1923, Towry Piper, London, Nov 1923
  • Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers, William Henley, Amati Publishing, Sussex


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