Ref :   1027

A very fine French violin by
Jean Baptiste Vuillaume
(1798 - 1875)
Paris, circa 1840

Sold with the original of a certificate of authenticity by W.E. Hill & Sons,
along with various other documents.

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In the world of violin making Jean Baptiste Vuillaume needs no introduction. As a foremost and preeminent maker he completely dominates French lutherie and also stands tall among the greatest violin makers in history.

This violin bears J. B. Vuillaume's label and is sold with the original of a certificate of authenticity by W. E. Hill & Sons, which dates the violin to circa 1840, referring to it as being "thoroughly characteristic of that period of his work." The violin also has an identifying reference number written by hand at two different places on the inside of the back, one being directly in front of the neck block and only observable with a scope, and the other in the centre of the back. This number is referred to as identifier in the Hill certificate. The violin is also sold with various other documents.

As with most of Vuillaume's instruments, the selection of materials is superb, making for strong visual appeal. The one-piece back is of well-flamed maple with a medium curl running straight across from side to side. It appears that the ribs and scroll may be of the same wood. The table is of medium-grained tone spruce with very even and straight growth lines. Purfling and corners - as can be expected of this maker - are masterful, as are the superbly crafted Fs and scroll. The varnish is of a beautiful red-golden amber, imbuing the entire instrument with a rich, glowing warmth. It can be said with confidence that the varnish is original and untouched in its entirely, although worn very thin in the usual areas of contact and is certainly in need of some expert retouching.

This violin has had a neck graft and has an ebony crown, indicating that the neck has been replaced. Along with the superb rebushing of the pegholes, one could surmise that this work was undertaken by the Hill workshop at the time when the Hill certificate was established.

This instrument is supremely well-toned. It has been tried out by several established soloists who spoke highly of this violin, comparing it favorably to the finest they've played on, noting particularly the focus, projection and sheer beauty of tone, including an unlimited palette of colours and subtleties. This is essentially a concert instrument, suitable for just about any demand that could be made on it.


Dimensions :
  Length of back: 35.9 cm
Bouts: 17.0 cm, 11.3 cm, 20.9 cm

Condition :
  In a very attractive instrument the only discernable repairs are to an almost invisible crack in the top's soundpost area, which is well-executed and secure. Also, a bassbar crack has been extremely well repaired and is totally secure.
The oxidation of the repairwood in both cases suggest that these repairs were carried out much after the time of establishing the Hill certificate, which made no mention of repairs. Since the violin was set up by Paul Voigt in London in 1967, one can surmise that Voigt's workshop may have carried out these repairs. The repairwood is fresh enough to date from that time.
Finally, the varnish is certainly original and untouched, but has seen considerable wear at the usual contact areas and at places is very thin, which would soon necessitate expert retouching.
It can be said with confidence that the violin is structurally in superb condition. Photos of the repairwork seen from the inside of the violin, taken through a scope, can be supplied on request.

Provenance :

Price : On request


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