‘Portions of the book will hardly appear satisfactory’: From the archive: December 1902

December 1902

The Hills’ book Antonio Stradivari: His Life and Work is now seen as a seminal landmark in Stradivari scholarship. The Strad ’s reviewer didn’t view it quite that way.

The book appeals more particularly to the “connoisseur’’ and the collector of violins. To the actual maker of fiddles – more deeply interested in the scientific principles of the instrument – certain portions of the book will hardly appear entirely satisfactory. We have perhaps a clue to this in the Introductory Notice, where the character of the book is outlined in the quotation, “Everything of something, and something of everything.”

The authors say: “Nothing more ridiculous can be supposed than that the species both of maple and pine which the Cremonese so ably utilized, no longer exists.’’ Of course the species still exist, but what about the extraordinary variation in the physical properties of different specimens of wood of any given species?…

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