This illustration of a double bass by Francesco Ruggeri was published in The Strad, February 1939. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:
A fine double bass by one of the great Cremonese makers is indeed a rarity, as the few old Italian double basses that still survive are, with an exception here and there, battle-scarred old warriors and bear few traces of their former splendour.
The illustrated example has fortunately survived in a good state of preservation. This handsome bass is the work of the celebrated Francesco Ruggeri of Cremona, ‘il Per’ as he calls himself on his labels, and must be numbered among the finest examples of this type of Italian work.
Like most old Italian and other double basses this instrument was originally fitted with three strings and remained thus until a few years ago when it was converted to four strings.
There is a possibility that when this instrument was new it had a violin outline; that is the back and table did not slope sharply inwards at the top. In its original form it may have resembled a giant violin and would certainly have made playing in the high positions extremely difficult, and this prompted a past owner to have it slightly cut down on the left and right upper sides.
Francesco Ruggeri learned his art in the workshop of Niccolò Amati at the same time as Andrea Guarneri. With an instrument of this size one would be inclined to think it would be a little coarser in execution than his violins for example. However, we perceive a very fine quality of the work, the aesthetic perfection of the modelling and the exceedingly happy choice of the material. The varnish of this instrument is certainly just as fine as that of the violins of the Cremona School and is a luscious brown.
The length of the body is 48 inches; maximum width of the upper bouts 22 inches; centre bouts 15 inches; lower bouts 27 inches; sides 8 inches.