In Focus: A 1766 cello by Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi

Landolfi back

Philip Brown looks at the Milanese maker’s mid-century instrument

Born around 1710, Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi appears to have turned to instrument making only around the middle of the century. Upon arriving in Milan, he spent time in the workshop of Paolo Antonio Testore, whose influence is clear in his early instruments. Landolfi became one of the most accomplished Italian luthiers of his time, able to turn his hand to all kinds of instruments of different sizes, and passed on his knowledge to Pietro Mantegazza, who went on to become Milan’s finest luthier after Landolfi’s demise in 1784.

Landolfi must have arrived in Milan around the same time as G.B. Guadagnini, whose ‘Milan period’ lasted from 1749 to 1758. As yet, there is no evidence to link them as having worked together, although there are a few similarities between the two makers’ styles. In particular, the varnish on many of Landolfi’s later instruments is a deep reddish brown, and shows similarities to Guadagnini’s varnish during the period he was in Milan…

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