Antonio & Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1600, the 'Primrose'

Viola: 43489

Back: Two-piece

Length of back: 39.8 cm

Upper bouts: 19.6 cm

Middle bouts: 13.8 cm

Lower bouts: 24.6 cm

There are 2 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


This instrument was cut down in size sometime around 1800.

The History of the Viola, Volume 1, Maurice W. Riley, The History of the Viola, Volume I

"His [William Primrose's] father owned several fine instruments, including a c.1600 Brothers Amati viola which was kept locked in a cupboard. This must have been part of its attraction. Willie, as the family called him, described his naughty moments thus: 'As a youngster, when he [father] wasn't around, I found a way to open the latch on the cupboard where the Amati was kept and played it with considerable satisfaction. I preferred its sound to the sound of the violin.'"

No time for snobbery, Claudine Bigelow, The Strad, August, 2004, London

"Its good state of preservation spikes the spurious rumor that it suffered injury in a mishap last year. Actually, it was Mr. Primrose's Moennig viola which was slightly damaged."

Viola-of-the-Month, String Player, Vol. 2, No. 2


Sold by Andrew Smillie
John Primrose
until 1951 William Primrose
from 1951 Ferenc Molnar
in 2003 Current owner

Known players

Roberto Diaz, William Primrose


  • The Strad, August, 2004, Claudine Bigelow, Newsquest Specialist Media, London (illustrated)
  • Private Archives - 10746
  • Schmidt Artists International Inc.
  • Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. V, No. 1, Maurice W. Riley, The Violin Society of America, Flushing, NY (illustrated)
  • The Strad, February, 1994, Orpheus, London
  • The History of the Viola, Volume I, Maurice W. Riley (illustrated)
  • The Jacques Français Rare Violins, Inc. Photographic Archive and Business Records, 1844-1998, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC (illustrated)
  • String Player, Vol. 2, No. 2 (illustrated)


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