Ref :   0703

An excellent old
Child Violin
Unlabelled, probably German
Circa 1900

It is rare today to find a child violin of such superb quality, dating from a time, around the end of the 19th century, when it was understood that sound mattered, even for a child. Seen against the today's practice where commercialism and low-grade mass production have overtaken the market for beginner and child instruments, this is a fabulous time capsule from an era when it was understood that even a child wants to hear the positive results of his efforts, which this little violin certainly gives.

It may be useful to mention here that parents often wonder why their child doesn't want to continue playing after a few months or even years of lessons. When you take closer look at instrument that is being used, the mystery disappears - in order to save money, parents follow the cheapest route ("…we don't want to waste money on a good violin in case he doesn't want to continue playing...") and so the child is given a poor quality instrument that no amount of effort could ever draw a decent sound from, thereby virtually assuring that the child will eventually give up playing. For such a child the whole learning experience is one long discouragement, because nothing he ever does on such a poor instrument will ever produce a good and satisfying result. Yet, it is a fact that most important professional violinists attest that they started out on good instruments as children, and immediately had the satisfaction of hearing the results of their efforts.

This is a very small violin - probably an 1/8th size or smaller. It is unlabelled and of unknown origin, but at a calculated guess it is probably German, made around 1900. The materials are really nicely chosen - the two-piece back and ribs are of well-flamed maple with a distinct and very narrow curl suitable to a very small violin, thereby creating the scale-down illusion that the little violin it is bigger than it actually is. The neck and scroll are of more plain wood. The top is, as with the back, of a very narrow closed grain - of excellent tone spruce. The red-brown oil-based varnish is soft and complimentary to the materials and gives the entire violin the dignity of a serious instrument. The pegs are of rose-wood and the fingerboard of ebony.

This violin was found still with the last set-up it received probably in the 1950s or 60s, done by the important Dutch violinmaker and authority, J. J. van de Geest (1899 -1974), whose bridge it still has on! The strings and tailpiece were recently replaced - it now has a tailpiece with built-in adjusters - very suitable for a student or child.The violin comes with a matching chinrest (not in the photos).

Everything about this little violin speaks of quality and attention to detail. It is in excellent condition. The many marks on it are merely superficial, without structural implications and serve to enhance the character and personality of a fabulous little instrument which has evidently served many a child violinist for over 100 years.

The sound is absolutely superb - clean, balanced and very responsive.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 25.0 cm. Testatura: 236mm

Condition :
  Excellent. A minor crack in the lower treble flank has been professionally repaired, along with the bottom 3 centimeters of the central seam in the back, which evidently became unstuck. That work was probably carried by J. J. van de Geest. Everything in the violin is secure. New strings and a tailpiece with built-in adjusters were recently fitted.

Provenance :

Price : R6500
This violin is sold without bow or case.


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