FINALLY - PROOF that Stradivari made cases too!
Whether or not the Stradivari workshop made the cases for their instruments, as suggested by the Hills in their biography in 1902, or rather entrusted this work to third parties, has always been subject to debate.
However, a previously miscataloged template from Stradivari’s estate was recently found to be a model for building the interior of a double case – and two baroque-era cases in private collections were found to be a perfect match!
The importance of this discovery cannot be over-estimated, as I write in this month’s issue of The Strad magazine, explaining why and how Stradivari designed and made cases as well as instruments. There is even evidence pointing to the possibility that Stradivari may have actually invented the violin case.
Why is this so important? Because, in addition to the historical significance, it means that now we know there are more Strads waiting to be discovered – albeit cases and not violins! In fact, you might have one already…
If you’re not a Strad subscriber, I’m available here on V.com for any questions. :-)
I didn't know that there was a polemic about if Stradivarius did also cases. I always assumed he did.
It's well known (also from the document you mention) that the instruments were delivered in cases. But who made them?
Time to use those designs for a Strad-case inspired Musafia model.
Do the Strad cases have room for a shoulder rest?
Of course Stradivari made cases.
I have been known to purchase a violin that I didn't want to get the Weber case that it was housing it.
David - that case was a great design! Whenever I loaned out a cello in the past 20 years it always went in my Bluejay hatch top case. I bought it new around 1987. It was great protection, easier to put the cello back in the case than to lay it on the ground or rest it against a chair, stable standing up on the floor even with the hatch door open, and the cello could not fall out.
I just want to say that this is the coolest thing I have read all day.
Pretty sure Stradivarius knew wood was the best (and only available) material for a case. His design ought to have been the best... back then, but I guess he didn't have to worry that some careless owner would drive on his/her own case ;-) ... kidding aside Dimitri, you should design a Stradivarius inspired case, it would be a hot seller no doubt. Tx for sharing this tid bit of information.
The 2008 book "The Art & History of Violin Cases," by Dr. Glen P. Wood has a color photo of a "1680" violin case (either leather or apparently covered in leather) embossed "STRADIVARIO A CRE."
@ David: Thank you for pointing out your involvement with Weber. Common knowledge is that Leroy and Isaac Stern came up with the idea, but that you were involved as well makes sense and is good to know.
BTW, the strange story of the proper identification of the template is the following.
@ Roger: The reason why no specific case-making tools were included in Stradivari's estate is that the cases were made just like a violin, and out the same materials!
Nicely written article Dimitri.
Thank you Roger!
Dimitri Musafia wrote, "But I have always felt myself that Stradivari the perfectionist would not have had his cases made elsewhere, where they could have been copied."
No such implication, John. Not only is today's case making an extremely specialized field (you don't use a gouge any more to carve one from solid wood!), with more than ample choice of products available, but just as important, cases are generally no longer needed or used to ship the violins. There are purpose designed shipping crates available since a long time now, which are preferable for a number of reasons.
Finally. Proof that Stradivari also made beds.
I notice Dimitri that you use piano hinges on the inner pockets of your more expensive cases.Will you use the same hinges on the less expensive ones? Mine has two small brass hinges in which one fell off within the first month of use.Not so good...
Sorry Martin, I didn't get the joke.
"Up to now consensus has been that they "may" have been made in the workshop, or perhaps not. The "Chi Mei" violin case attributed to Stradivari circa 1680 is decorated in gold-leaf obtained through a procedure well-known to book binders of the time, not violin makers."
@ Geoff: You're certainly right that the decoration of the "Chi Mei" case could have been done by a third party, and in my opinion, likely was.
I use a Gewa case, which is very light, and popular among people around me, they say a wooden case is too heavy to carry around.
That's simply not true. More than one manufacturer makes wooden violin cases that weigh less than 2 kg. and offer a high level of instrument protection. You can't get any lighter than that!
Did Stradivari use quality hardware on his cases or was that detail overlooked?
If the hardware lasted over 330 years it must have been OK.
Did that include inner hinges?
Did each Stradivari case include a blanket?
The beds did