Ref :   0867

A very good French cello by
François Pillement Père
(Active in Mircourt between 1775 & 1820)
Mircourt, circa 1800

Sold with a 1951 certificate by J. J. van de Geest

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The most striking feature of this beautiful instrument is its exceptionally attractive one piece back of well-figured maple with a narrow curl, repeated in the sides - evidently from the same tree.

Furthermore, this cello is in excellent condition and exceptionally well-toned, with the maturity and nobility that comes with age. The tone is rich and responsive, well-balanced throughout the register and with the focus and projection one would wish for in a good solo instrument.

It bears the brand in the back of François Pillement, known as Pillement Père, an accomplished and respected maker who was active in Mircourt between 1775 and 1820. Other than the branding, this instrument conforms broadly to the characteristics associated with this maker's work, being a fondness for broadly grained wood in the top, good well-figured maple for the sides and back and particularly the light golden oil varnish, supple and very translucent - allowing for observation for the beauty of the woods. Pillement excelled particularly in the making of cellos, which Henley describes as having 'finer and stronger tone.'

With a length of back of 72.3 cm, the instrument's body is slightly shorter than the standard Stradivari model, yet the stop length at 69.5 cm conforms to the norm. Further, the shorter body length is made up for by the cello being slightly deeper in the rib and marginally broader over the body. However, it remains an extremely attractive instrument on the eye, well-proportioned and elegant.

This cello has a superb neck graft, executed probably in the early 19th century. It also appears to have been the subject of minor restoration at some time in its history - with all typical minor age-related cracks and defects having been superbly repaired to the extent that the repairs are virtually invisible. A good guess would be that the work was carried out by J. J. van de Geest (1899-1974). Nothing about this cello, as it is now, requires attention and it can be said with confidence that it is structurally totally secure.

This cello was recently fitted with a new Belgian bridge and currently has Evah Pirazzi strings on it. However, it has a very old-style end-pin, which adds to its charm.

This cello should ideally be in the hands of a very good musician who would know how to explore the riches of its colours and tonal properties.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 72.5 cm
Stop length: 69 cm

Condition :
  This cello was fully restored some decades ago, evidently by a Master Luthier. All cracks have been correctly repaired and cleated and work done is virtually invisible. It is currently in superb condition and structurally perfectly secure. Varnish is original.

Provenance :
  Owned by Johan Grobbelaar. Earlier provenance withheld.

Price : P.O.A.


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