Ref :   0864

A good unlabelled
French Violin
Unknown authorship
Circa 1920

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This violin is made of unusually attractive materials and has very strong visual appeal. It displays workmanship of high order and is exceptionally well-toned, suitable for solo performance.

It was discovered in an attic earlier this year in a state of neglect and disuse and had not been played on for at least 60 years. Evidence indicated that the instrument had been very much played on at some stage - deep pitting in the fingerboard, the nut completely worn through and pegs very worn, even though evidently not a very old instrument, which would suggest it belonged to a professional musician, probably an orchestra player. After closing some rib seams, fitting a new nut and pegs and reprofiling the fingerboard, it can be said (some superficial scratches and marks apart) that this violin is in superb condition.

It is unlabelled, hence exact authorship is unknown. Once French authority suggested (based on photos) that it may be by Marc Laberte (1880-1963). An American-based violin maker concurred that it is 20th century French. It's origins being French can hardly be disputed and a calculated guess would put its date at c. 1920.

This violin's most striking feature is its beautiful two piece back, of well-flamed maple with a distinct medium to broad curl, also repeated in the neck and scroll. The purfling and mitres are excellent and the cornerwork precise. Especially appealing is the scroll, which speaks of refinement, yet is bold and superbly balanced with almost perfect symmetry. The top is of good medium grained tone spruce, with narrow growth lines at the centre seam opening slightly to the flanks. The golden brown varnish is very clear, appears to be spirit-based and compliments the beauty of the materials nicely. The light scratches are superficial don't detract from a very attractive instrument.

Tonally this violin rivals most of the best instruments I have had - it speaks with clarity and excellent focus, very well balanced over the strings and very clear in the high positions to the extent that passages in high positions sound almost indistinguishable to the same notes in lower positions. The tone is open, the instrument speaks easily and makes playing a lot easier than would be the case in an inferior instrument. It has a wide palette of colours, responds well to all bow nuances, allows for great bow articulation - from very light strokes to very hard pressure, always delivering what you ask for.

This violin would be an excellent acquisition for a serious musician looking for a good instrument that would open doors and give access to the next level.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 35.7 cm

Condition :
  Excellent condition. No discernable cracks or repairs. Some superficial marks and scratches have no structural implications,
New pegs, new nut, fingerboard recently reprofiled to remove pitting.
Since the photos were taken the bridge has been replaced with one of a better quality.

Provenance :
  Owned by Johan Grobbelaar. Previous ownership withheld.

Price : On request


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