The man of property: Who was Baron Johann Knoop?

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Clifford Hall tells the story of the German collector Baron Johann Knoop

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’It’s easy to play and I’ve never heard a better-sounding violin,’ says US collector David Fulton on the ‘Baron Knoop’ violin, made by Antonio Stradivari in 1715. ‘Perhaps some are as good, perhaps some have remarkable personalities, but none is better. It is a very happy-sounding fiddle. I love it.’

In 1928, Alfred Hill of W.E. Hill and Sons recalled ‘one of the best clients our firm has had’ also had a great affinity for this particular violin. Hill boldly suggested that the violin’s current name, derived from one of its recent owners – the well-known and much beloved London banker Frederick Lincoln Bevan whose 1909 obituary eulogised him as ‘one of the most respected, most kind-hearted and generous supporters of local charities and deserving institutions’ – be changed to Baron Knoop

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