This illustration of a violin by Tomasso Balestrieri was published in The Strad, August 1939. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:
Tomasso Balestrieri is one of those makers the quality of whose work varies very considerably, but even his less carefully finished instruments possess tonal qualities of a high order. At his best he can be considered one of the finest makers who ever worked in Mantua.
Balestrieri was born sometime between 1734 and 1740 and died in 1790. His birthplace is believed to have been Cremona, and his labels state that he was a native if that town.
His work was most certainly influenced equally by Stradivarius and Pietro Guarneri and it is reasonable to assume that he and his contemporaries had many chances of examining instruments by both these makers.
The violin illustrated this month is dated 1756. It is one of the maker’s outstanding productions and well illustrates the influence of Stradivari on some of his work. The measurements are: Length of body, 13 13/16 inches; Upper bouts, 6 ½ inches; Centre bouts, 4 7/16 inches, full.
The wood used for the slab back, although not of very handsome appearance, is of fine quality. It will be noticed that the wood for the sides and scroll has been cut the reverse way to the back. The table is of fine grained pine. This maker, it would seem always selected his materials more for their tonal merits than appearance.
The varnish on the violin is of dark orange-red colour, a hue much favoured by the violin makers of Mantua of that period.
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