Ref :   0926

A very good and interesting cello
fitted with a photocopy of a known label by 'Valentino de Zorzi'
Circa 1890 or earlier

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This cello is superbly toned with an open richness, full of projection and clarity. It is well-balanced across the strings and its ease of response makes it easy to play. All who have played it have been thoroughly seduced by its qualities and beauty of tone.

It has to be stated at the onset that the neck and scroll on this cello are not original to the instrument. Furthermore, it bears a fake label which manifestly is an early photocopy of an existing label printed in René Vannes' Dictionnaire Universel des Luthiers. Since the label is a fake it cannot serve as reference to establish the authorship of this cello.

It would appear under scrutiny that this cello is a very good instrument which conforms to high standards in workmanship and tonal property. It should be noted that during the Second World War many string players in Nazi-occupied Europe removed the labels from their instruments to prevent them from being seized or looted by the Nazis - this was all the more so in the case of instruments by high-profile makers. The interior of this cello is considerably oxydized from age and one can discern in the back an area of non-matching discoloration in the normal position and size of a label - evidently where the original label had been fitted. It seems that the original label was carefully and deliberately removed.

This cello is made of a fine selection of materials. The two-piece back, notably, is of nicely figured maple with some attractive and irregular curl. Throughout the workmanship is superb, attesting to an experienced and steady hand, particularly noticible in the tracing of the purfling, the tidy cornerwork with superb mitres. The Fs are somewhat elongated, slender and very elegant. It seems that someone (not the maker) tried to modify the fluting in the wings in this cello's early years.

Knowledgeable persons familiar with this instrument concur that it was made toward the end of the 19th century, probably around 1890. It would appear that it suffered a fracture of its original neck. Whoever undertook the repairs in this cello (which involved the removal of the top) opted to replace the neck and scroll rather than repairing the original. The replacement, albeit it of attractive workmanship, appears to be of commercial origin. A 6 cm repaired crack in the top (from the edge at the neck downwards, bass side) may have occurred when removing the top. This would be held secure by the neck block and doesn't appear to compromise structural security. Furthemore, the scratches in the top bass quadrant in the front are purely superficial and reportedly was an act of vandalism. They don't compromise the top's structural integrity, and it can be said with confidence that this cello is structurally in very good condition.

This cello is very well-toned with strong soloistic qualities.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 75.7 cm
Standard full-size Stradivari model

Condition :
  Neck and scroll later. Fingerboard and pegs recent.
A 6 cm crack in the top from the neck mortise downwards (photo) is solidly repaired. Scratches in the front top bass quadrant are superficial. A minor crack from the top eye of the treble F, running downwards past the bridge is clear of both soundpost and bridge and is professionally repaired and cleated internally with 4 cleats, rendering it stable and virtually invisible.
Other than the above, this cello is free from other cracks, structurally stable and in very good condition.

Provenance :
  Owned by Johan Grobbelaar

Price : P.O.A.


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