From the archive: a violin by Joannes Baptista Guadagnini, Turin, 1782

January 13, 2014

This illustration of a violin by Joannes Baptista Guadagnini from 1782 was published in The Strad, October 1927. The following text is extracted from an article accompanying the photographs:

The violin is a remarkable example of the master’s best tonal period. Only a limited number of Guadagninis are precisely of the much-desired red colour, and the soft, rich gleaming Cremonese varnish of the instrument, gives an extraordinary beauty of appearance, and imparts to the tone a noble quality which is unsurpassed in my experience. The tone is very powerful and ‘thick’, having that weight and reserve which the concert artist adores, as it means that whatever he may demand of his violin in volume of tone, will be forthcoming.

The subject of our illustration is a violin of compact form, with the body length of 13 5/6 inches, which is a frequent one with J.B. Guadagnini, and has a jointed back of the superior broad-figured maple, which was the mature choice of the Cremonese giants, it being probably the ‘fine foreign wood,’ mentioned by Lancetti. As a result of the remarkable preservation of this violin, the black edging of the scroll is still very abundant, and a further direction on which the master has followed Stradivari, is seen in the hollowing of the lower wings of the soundholes, which work has been executed with taste and care.

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