Ref :   0620

A fine antiqued violin labelled
Amati Brothers
German, circa 1910

Ex Annake de Villiers

This was the personal instrument of the celebrated South African violinist, Annake de Villiers (1975 - 2012), which she used for the major part of her career, both in South Africa and the many other countries she toured and performed in. It was used notably for her CD productions and her well-known video recordings, as well as in numerous stage performances.

This is a striking instrument with immediate appeal and superb tonal properties. The first impression on one of genuine age, but closer examination shows that this violin is not that old and that it probably is the work of a German studio that specialized in the making of very clever replicas of 17th and 18th century violins that are so smartly antiqued that many experts have difficutly in distinguishing the differences between these instruments and the genuine 300 year old violins. And this is a really fine axample of such aging, superbly executed.

The one-piece back, sides and scroll are of somewhat plain maple, with virtually no flame. The top is of excellent finely grained spruce. The overall modelling and style conform only vaguely to the Amati brothers. The scroll is beautifully elegant and all pegholes are rebushed.

It has a carefully made Amati label (see merged photo) and looks as if dates from the early 18th century. However, closer examination of the violin shows many characteristics of clever antiquing - acid-pitted varnish, fake cracks and a wear patterns on the scroll. Today many violinmaking schools encourage and teach this practice and in fact it has become, in some international violinmaking competitions, a required technique and one of the criteria by which submissions are judged. Manifestly, this violin has nothing to do with Amati.

Setting all of that aside, by all standards this is a good violin. Its value is partly as a good example of a cleverly antiqued instrument - but since such practices are today accepted in fine violins and even encouraged, there is nothing wrong in that.

This is a genuinely good working instrument, appealing to the eye and well-toned. Hopefully this violin will still serve many deserving musicians in time to come.


Dimensions :
  Back length: 36.1 cm

Condition :
  Excellent condition troughout. Some 'cracks' are artificial. Only two cracks appear genuine - a thin hariline crack running up from the lower saddle for about 10 cm, and a crack along the right lower bout in the top. Both cracks are professionally repaired and and secure.

Provenance :
  This violin was for many years the principal instrument of the South African celebrity violinist, Annake de Villiers, and has been used extensively for her concert performances throughout the world and in numerous recordings. She passed away untimely on 24 April 2012.

Price : Withheld


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