Carlo Bergonzi I, Cremona, 1737, the 'Hart'


Viola: 47484

Bearing its original label, with the date altered to read 1721.

Back: One-piece cut on the slab

Scroll: by Ferdinando Alberti, replaced sometime before 1875

Length of back: 40.8 cm

Upper bouts: 18.3 cm

Middle bouts: 12.2 cm

Lower bouts: 23.9 cm

There are 35 additional images in the archive which are not available publicly. Please contact us for more information.


Notes:

"Despite the often-quoted line that Bergonzi made no violas, there is a very fine one illustrated in the original edition of Hart's 'The Violin and its Makers' (London: Dulau, 1881). This instrument, now in the collection of Charles Beare, bears a genuine label. It was built on the Stradivari 'CV' form, which produced all the great Stradivari violas: the 'Archinto', 'Macdonald', and most significantly the 'Gibson' of 1734, the back of which appears to have been made from the same slab-sawn plank as the Bergonzi viola. Here, it seems, is proof of two things: that Bergonzi did make violas; and that he worked with Stradivari. The Bergonzi viola has several small repair pieces in the back, which together with other evidence promote the suspicion that it was a 'reject' from the Stradivari shop, for which Bergonzi, assisted by his son Machael Angelo, made a belly."

Cremonese mystery man, John Dilworth, The Strad, June, 1995, London


"In (Plate I) the Viola by Bergonzi is an instance of this desire to preserve rare material. Under its lovely varnish may be seen several pieces let in most artistically."

The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, George Hart, The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, London


". . .there is a fair chance it had been lot 139 when Christie's sold Joseph Gillott's collection in April 1872: 'a very perfect Tenor, by Carlo Bergonzi, Cremona', bought by Charles Reade for 50 pounds. . . We do not know who acquired the viola when the Adam Collection was gradually dispersed later in the 19th century, but the Hill firm never accepted it as authentic and listed it as a 'so-called Bergonzi viola.'"

Carlo Bergonzi: A Cremonese Master Unveiled, Christopher Reuning, editor, Carlo Bergonzi: A Cremonese Master Unveiled, Cremona

Provenance

in 1885 John Adam
- Max Gilbert
until 1988 Cynthia Midgley
from 1988 Current owner

References

  • Carlo Bergonzi: A Cremonese Master Unveiled, Christopher Reuning, editor, Consorzio Liutai Antonio Stradivari, Cremona (illustrated)
  • The Strad, June, 1995, John Dilworth, Orpheus, London
  • The Violin: Its Famous Makers and their Imitators, George Hart, Dulau & Co., London (illustrated)
  • W. E. Hill & Sons Photographic Archive (illustrated)

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