Ref :   0956

A very good French violin by
Léon Bernardel
(1853 - 1931)
Paris, 1929

Signed and dated by hand by the maker

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Whereas many labels were associated with the commercial output of the various studios and workshops which were under the direction of Léon Bernardel, one label was associated exclusively with his personal work, made by himself, and that label is used in this violin. Furthermore, the fact that the label is signed and dated by hand by the master himself, would confirm the understanding that this violin is the personal work of Léon Bernardel, dated 1929.

It is more than anything the exceptional workmanship throughout that puts the seal on the above. From the impeccable mitres and crisp sharp purfling to the selection of fine materials and the golden-brown varnish of very high transparency, this violin speaks of a mastery of skill associated with this important French maker, who died two years after making this violin.

Léon Bernardel (1853-1931) studied with his father, Ernst, and with Justin Derazey, and was also closely associated with the great French violinmaker, Gand. His own work largely follows the principles and model of Lupot. William Henley describes his work as 'Perfect modelling, outline, scroll and soundholes', all of which are evident in this beautiful violin. This instrument would have been made when the maker was already 76 and at the height of his creative powers and experience.

The two-piece back and ribs are of excellent maple with a medium curl of mild flame. The neck and scroll, however, are less flamed. The top is of medium grained tone spruce and the scroll is superbly balanced.

Some deep marks were made behind the bridge as a result of an earlier incorrect bridge position. This has been largely corrected and retouched later, but remains evident.

This violin is exceptionally well-toned, with the rich sonority and focus associated with Léon Bernardel's instruments. Tonally it is a violin of high quality, which responds easily, is a pleasure to play on and rewarding to listen to.


Dimensions :
  35.7 cm

Condition :
  This violin is completely free from cracks or structural repairs.
At some time in its history an effort had been made at retouching marks left by a bridge - clearly at an incorrect bridge position - and also at retouching other marks and scratches. This had been done poorly and a later effort succeeded in correcting much of that attempt. The marks behind the bridge though are evident and could not be removed entirely.
The front lower bass corner was repaired.
These are the only detractors in an otherwise superb instrument.

Provenance :

Price : Withheld


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