Any comments on this unusual violin

November 22, 2017, 3:20 AM ·

Here are some measurements: lob 359mm

The violin has undergone an excellently executed neck graft and bushing of the peg holes.
The first thing that drew my attention to this instrument was it's very unusual outline that resembles an old illustration crudeley representing a violin . My impression was that this fiddle is a very old one I have never seen one like it . I would be curious to know if anyone out there can shed some light.

Replies (23)

November 22, 2017, 3:43 AM · I call them "naive" violins, the maker lacked the proper training, tools, patterns, etc.

The result is an unorthodox violin.

Poor people had no money to buy instruments, so they made them as they could, and these humble violins brought joy to their communities in the past.

November 22, 2017, 3:47 AM · Very interesting violin, and it does look really old, but obviously more of an amateur builder, which may explain its odd shape, maybe he saw an illustration from a renaissance text, or possibly it actually is 1600s, whatever you do make sure you refer to a highly qualified restorer, instruments this old can be extremely brittle wood and very likely to crack when removing the top, etc. I wouldn't attempt to restore it myself, I would refer it to an expert. May not have a huge value, depends on where they determine it was made, somewhat.
November 22, 2017, 3:50 AM · Also if you read the directions for posting a new thread, it gives the html code to use so that you just have to click on your links rather than copy paste.
Edited: November 22, 2017, 9:56 AM · You can even insert code that makes the pictures show directly in the thread. That will possibly give you more answers.....

November 22, 2017, 10:09 AM · How does it sound?
November 22, 2017, 8:25 PM · I'd agree with the people above, that it was most likely an amateur maker. BUT from the fix of the pegbox, I'd say it's gone through professional fixing.
November 22, 2017, 8:29 PM · Although looking into it further, I see several pins used onto the violin, which explains why you would describe it as old. (Personally, I already like this violin.) I've seen a lot of violins and several older Italian ones that use the pin technique. One question though, Is the large circle on the back near one of the blocks one of the pins, or is it discoloration?
November 23, 2017, 7:52 AM · The square shoulders remind me of the Hopf family violins. I think a lot of copies were made in the 19th century, but I am no expert on this.
November 23, 2017, 1:51 PM · This violin looks nothing like any kind of Hopf!!
November 23, 2017, 2:13 PM · An easy way to view a number of picture links (such as the OP provided) is to copy and paste all the links in one go into an email which you then send to yourself. Any half-decent email browser should allow you to click on the results in the email without further ado.
November 23, 2017, 8:57 PM · I am just curious how it sounds, a recording, or even just a description of the sound would be nice. If it sounds good, I would love to have it. I honestly don’t care what it looks like, as long as it sounds good
November 23, 2017, 9:17 PM · it doesn't appear to be in playing condition!!
November 23, 2017, 9:21 PM · I like the really pointy corners. If I ever made a viola for myself I might give it something like that.
November 25, 2017, 8:09 AM · Thank you all for you comments and guidance in the uploading of photos . As I am the owner of this violin I am probably biased . In answer to violin kiddu the circle you can sea is a feature of the flame .
Now having handled many instruments both great and humble amateur and otherwise I am fairly convinced that although this instrument is unusual it has none of the clumsiness one associates with naive instruments . The scroll is of interest because it is non standard and carved along the usual lines but more intricate the grooving is deep and elaborate while it is not wholey symmetrical it is expertly carved . The scroll work from the side is formed in a lovely way with not much attention to finnish. The inside of the peg box is as well cleaned out and executed as any I have seen .
November 25, 2017, 8:20 AM · In answer . This violin when you handle it has an elegance that is far from amateurish. I think violin master hits the nail on the head when he /she asks what it sounds like . I am very tempted to string it up and find out . When I bought the violin the sound post had been wrongly placed on the bass side causing a small crack in the back "which as someone pointed out with very old instruments" is very brittle .
November 25, 2017, 4:56 PM · @Ken you know, I know somebody that has a violin with a similar scroll, in which it is more flat that others. Since his violin is made from an 'unknown Italian maker' which is why I now more strongly believe that this could be Italian
November 26, 2017, 12:50 AM · I recently handled an accredited Restore at an auction in London I'm not saying this is a great violin but it had a similar feel . Obviously one can't be sure but I think this is an Italian violin from around that period .
November 26, 2017, 12:50 AM · I recently handled an accredited Restore at an auction in London I'm not saying this is a great violin but it had a similar feel . Obviously one can't be sure but I think this is an Italian violin from around that period .
November 26, 2017, 12:52 AM · Carlo Guieseppe Testore
November 26, 2017, 7:04 PM · Unless you have some direct information on this fiddle it is very unlikely that you can tell where it came from by just examining it.
Or how old it is. The outline as you are saying looks as if someone had some vague idea what a violin should look like from an illustration . Interesting but amateurish - likely an auto-didact. There are no characteristics that would point to German, English, French , Italian or other origin.
Does not have any resemblance to a Testore.
November 27, 2017, 10:49 AM · This Testore had a very unusual scroll bold and showing tool marks that was the only real point of comparison . Just as a matter of interest I've just seen a 19th century violin on the Florian Leonhard Webb site with a very similar outline it's the only one I've seen . You haven't handled my violin you've only seen photos and you can dismiss it as amateurish . This violin is unusual but trust me if you handled it you would realise amateurish it is not!
November 27, 2017, 11:44 AM · Actually I know that a direct comparison to a specific maker is absurd . But actually there are more points of comparison than you might think the scroll on the Testore was unorthodox looking from the side the wood between the scroll and the anterior face of the box was much wider than one normally the profile was not circular it was square at the back and the rear face of the scroll was flat not fluted . My scroll is unorthodox .The Purfling on the belly of Testore was drawn on as it is on mine . Incidentally the f holes are very similar . The point I'm looking at is the feel of the instrument. Style willingness to be unorthodox . This I think can be a clue to age . Not just dedication and brittleness of wood .
November 27, 2017, 11:45 AM · Desication

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