The Strad Calendar 2024: The Fulton collection


The Strad Calendar 2024 pays tribute to one of the 20th century’s finest stringed instrument collections, put together in just a couple of decades by American violin collector David L. Fulton. Christian Lloyd examines the treasures

In 1981, US software engineer David L. Fulton bought his first fine instrument, a 1698 violin made by Pietro Guarneri of Mantua. It cost $120,000, a vast sum to him at the time, ‘more than the value of my house’. However, it led to a passion for collecting fine instruments, specifically old Italians, and over the next two decades the collection grew to become possibly the 20th century’s finest owned by an individual. The vast majority of the priceless treasures have now been sold on, but nevertheless the Fulton Collection was last year immortalised in the form of a book, in which the collector gives a guided tour of the 28 instruments he owned: 18 violins, 6 violas and 4 cellos. Antonio Stradivari and Giuseppe Guarneri ‘del Gesù’ put their names to 8 instruments apiece, while master luthiers such as Carlo Bergonzi, G.B. Guadagnini, Vincenzo Rugeri and Domenico Montagnana were also represented. The Strad Calendar 2024 brings together 12 of these extraordinary instruments, described below with comments by Fulton and others…

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