Antonio & Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1580-90, the 'Trampler'


Viola: 44668

Back: Two-piece

Ribs: with the painted inscription

Varnish: Golden yellow

Length of back: 44.45 cm

Upper bouts: 21.59 cm

Middle bouts: 15.24 cm

Lower bouts: 27.62 cm

There is 1 additional image in the archive which is not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


Notes:

"This instrument was cut down in size around 1800 from an original length of about 47 cm. The ribs are painted with the inscription: "Non AEtesin Homine sed Virtus Consideramus" (the last word may be "Considerant" as the last 4 letters are now illegible), which translates to either 'Consider not age in man, but the complete man' or 'Judge a man by what he is, not by his age.'

Although the instrument comes with a certificate from Simone F. Sacconi attributing it to the Brothers Amati circa 1620, both Charles Beare and Jacques Francais believe it to be a work of Andrea Amati, possibly completed by the Brothers Amati, in which case its date would be closer to 1580c."

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


"In the opinion of the writer, however, Mr. Hart's Tenor has been slightly shortened at some time, but fortunately not in the vandalistic fashion or to the extent which called forth the ire of Charles Reade, whose denunciation of the perpetrators of such outrages has often been quoted."

An Amati Tenor, Towry Piper, The Strad, 1911, London


Count Cozio's notes, April 1, 1816, possibly referring to this instrument: "From Monzino. Antonio and Girolamo Amati: viola which was made smaller by Carlo Mantegazza. It has a genuine label made in 1612 (all four numbers were hand written at that time). Two-piece back, with uneven wide grain. Worm eaten in the upper part on the side of the fourth string, and in the lower part on the treble side. It has a small crack, which has been repaired with a patch under the sound post. Another patch has been added on the back on the treble side. Thin two-piece top, with additions near the edges in the lower part; quite tight grain. There is a crack between the F-hole and the bridge; it seems to be like a thin crack that goes from the fourth [string] towards the F-hole on the treble side. The F-holes are not of good workmanship, but they are among the oldest made by this maker, and of the size that you can see on the paper attached". The F-hole [on the side] of the fourth string is slightly larger, and both have a notch in the middle of the maximum length between the two curvess. The four curves [...] were made by the same maker, turned towards the C-bouts and acute. Good purfling, similar to the one used for his violins, including the smaller [instruments]. The edges of the C-bouts are round and a little raised. The sides share the same grain as the back; the one on the upper part of the treble side as well as the side of the C-bouts on the bass side were worm-eaten and then repaired. The side height was reduced by Carlo Mantegazza [...] . The scroll has wide grain, like the cellos; the wide grain in a viola indicates that it is a good work. Ordinary dark brown varnish, like the one used by the same maker for his cellos and basses. The F-holes are not carved in the lower part.

To make it shorter, it was reduced both from above and from below; one oncia was taken off from the corners. It ended up being a good model. It was shortened also in its length, in the middle, in a way that it is not visible. The back has higher and shorter arching, but it comes from a larger thickness in the middle. The arching below the C-bouts is naturally lower, and it is more shallowly cambered near the new edges; these are flatter beyond the C-bouts. In other words, the arching is flat up to the edges. The purfling is similar to the violin, that is a thin [line] in the C-bouts, and slightly thicker in the new parts. Generally speaking it is a good and well polished work. The varnish is not as good as the one used by this maker for his violins; this varnish is brown and opaque, and it covers up the beauty of the wood. This color is misty and it is reminiscent of the ordinary [instruments] made by Andrea Guarneri. It is missing the two pins on the back, near and under the purfling to keep it on the blocks, as Amati used to do; these were taken off during the shortening. . . ." (pp. 231-232)

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


Count Cozio's notes, January 29, 1823: "Description and measurements of the viola made by Andrea Amati and belonging to the heirs Canzi. The fake label, with large and beautiful letters, was placed by Mantegazza father. It says: Andreas Amatus Cremonensis fecit anno 1562. Handwritten numbers.

Although it was shortened by Mantegazza [...] father, it was a five-string viola, as it can be seen by the neck sold by Francesco Mantegazza to Braga. It still remains quite large, but it is unplayable for the reasons described; it cannot be reduced another time due to the length of the C-bouts and of the F-holes, as it can be seen in the following description. . . .

The maple grained sides are [made of] the same wood used in the back. An inscription with large golden letters - read before it was coloured - says: [NO]N AETAS. Start reading from the side of the G-string, from the neck down on the upper rib. On the Cbout there is a flower, and continuing in the rib it follows IN ..OMINE, in the junction of the sides. On the back side, starting from the end button towards the C-bout: SED VIRTUS. While from the C-bout of the E-string there is another flower, as the one above, but drawn on its contrary. On the upper treble rib: CONSIDERAfNDA]. In this inscription, some words written in the upper sides, near the neck, are missing; these were placed where the sides were cut. Francesco Mantegazza told me that the missing letters are the ones which are put in brackets. . . ." (pp. 278-9)

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

Provenance

in 1876 Sold by Hart & Son
... ...
in 1911 Sold by Hart & Son
- Roth
in 1980 Walter H. Trampler
... ...
in 2012 Current owner

Known players

Walter H. Trampler

Certificates & Documents

  • Certificate: Rembert Wurlitzer Inc., New York, NY
  • Certificate: Emil Herrmann Dated 1610c. "Stark verkleintert."

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

  • The Strad, 1911, Towry Piper, London, Oct 1911 (illustrated)
  • Memoirs of a Violin Collector: Count Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue, Brandon Frazier, Baltimore
  • Journal of the Violin Society of America, Vol. V, No. 1, Maurice W. Riley, The Violin Society of America, Flushing, NY (illustrated)
  • 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)

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