From the Archive: a cello by C.G. Testore

July 28, 2014

A cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore

This illustration of a cello by Carlo Giuseppe Testore was published in The Strad, July 1913. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:

The very interesting violoncello featured this month belonged at one time to Piatti, who sometimes played upon it in public and thought very highly of its tone. The great cellist, who was also something of a collector, bought this bass in Italy from a trombone player, who was in needy circumstances. It was in a neglected and generally dilapidated condition, but, after proper repairs and adjustment, was found to have a most excellent tone.

The chief measurements of the body are: length, 29 ¼ inches full, just a shade under that of the average Stradivarius cello, after he had ceased making the larger basses of his earlier period; width of upper bouts, 13 7/8 inches; lower bouts, 17 inches bare.

The back, as is almost invariable in the larger work of this maker, is of poplar or pear tree, and the sides are somewhat plain. The head, a bold piece of cutting, is of beech. The belly, as usual, is a splendid piece of pine, which exhibits a knot just below the right-hand upper corner as you look at the instrument.

The sound-holes are not of the pattern generally seen in the instruments of Carlo Giuseppe Testore, but I doubt whether their original shape has been interfered with. It is a common mistake to suppose that all his works were built to one pattern, following more-or-less exactly that of Giovanni Grancino, with whom he worked.

The varnish is of the usual clear brown with a suspicion of yellow in it.

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