An 1863 ‘Messiah’ Stradivarius copy made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume of Paris is to be auctioned as part of Ingles & Hayday’s sale at Sotheby’s in London on 28 October 2014. The instrument is from the collection of leading violin investor Cho Ming Sin and is estimated to fetch between £100,000 and £150,000.
‘We are delighted to be offering this wonderful violin, which was included in an exhibition of Vuillaume’s work at Sotheby’s in October 2012,’ said Tim Ingles. ‘This violin is the first of three almost identical ‘Messiah’ copies that were featured in the exhibition and is labelled Jean Baptiste Vuillaume à Paris, 3, rue Demours-Ternes in the usual way, but Vuillaume chooses to preface this with an additional label with the words Imitation précise du Stradiuarius du Comte Cozio de Salabue, daté 1716. Le “Messie”.
‘Vuillaume’s claim to have made a precise copy seems entirely valid – the flame of the back, gently descending from the centre joint, and the slant of the f-holes leave us in no doubt as to the inspiration for this violin. There is a slight red-brown tinge to the varnish, making it a shade or two deeper than the usual golden orange of the “Messie” copies.’
The violin was certified by W.E. Hill & Sons in 1954 and bears Vuillaume’s serial number 2488.