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A viola of unknown origin, probably German
Labelled Frederick Foster, London, 1820.

Circa 1920

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Despite its very convincing label denoting 'Frederick Foster' as the maker in London in 1820 (see photo), a close scrutiny of this viola reveals that it is in fact a trade (commercial) instrument from around 1920, probably of German origin. It certainly has nothing to do with the claims made in the label.

However, it remains a good instrument, not without merit - its most attractive attribute being its unusually small size. The back length of only 38.7 cm makes it one of the smallest violas I have encountered and certainly attractive for a small violist or a violinist who regularly switches between violin and viola.

And it is visually appealing, having been made of very attractive materials. The two-piece back, ribs, neck and scroll appear to be of the same block of nicely figured wood - fine maple with a distinct, even narrow to medium curl - appealing to the eye. The top is of good tone spruce with a straight medium-grained winter growth. Workmanship is steady and good, but at times perfunctory, revealing traits normally associated with commercial work.

It is well-toned and responsive


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 38.7 cm

Condition :
  This is viola is in excellent condition. The top saddle (nut) is new as is the general setup (bridge, soundpost, etc) and fittings. It is fitted with a fresh set of Tomastik Dominant viola strings.

Provenance :

Price : On request


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