This illustration of a violin by Matteo Goffriller was published in The Strad, August 1986. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:
Hugh Bean once remarked that Albert Sammons ‘got through one violin a week’. This statement is obviously an exaggeration but it does express Sammons’ interest in a variety of instruments. He purchased a violin by Matteo Goffriller in 1927, which served for all important engagements until Sammons’ retirement in 1948. This instrument came from Venice and was a superb example of Goffriller’s work, made in 1696.
The Sammons Goffriller does not have typical Venetian characteristics. The long audacious corners are more typical of the work of Carlo Tononi and Goffriller’s early training in the Jacob Steiner school is evident. The outline comes from Cremona, however, as it shows the influence of the early Amati brothers. The marginal work is sturdy and compact which allows the arching, top and bottom to rise almost immediately from the purfling. At the centre a shallow trough blends gently into the extremities and both plates are carved to produce a medium to high arching. A distinctive feature are the f-holes; upright and open in design, they immediately command one’s attention. The maker’s skill with the knife is in evidence here. Gouge marks are visible on the scroll and volutes but the varnish, having filled these, gives character and enhances a fine piece of carving. With varnish of a rich deep red brown laid on generously and still with masses of it visible, the violin conveys strength and muscular power. In Sammons hands the same description can be applied to its tonal qualities.
Principal dimensions are:
Length of back: 356 mm
Width of lower bouts: 208.5 mm
Width of middle bouts: 118 mm
Width of top bouts: 196 mm
Rib height: 30-32 mm