This illustration of an Alexander Despine cello was published in The Strad, February 1953. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:
Whether Despine (or d’Espine) should be classed as an Italian maker is sometimes questioned. Those who maintain that he was French, base their claim principally on the fact that he has a French name. There is no doubt, however, that all his instruments have all the characteristics of the best type of Italian workmanship.
He was certainly closely associated with Pressenda and worked in Turin from about 1823 to 1842. As with Pressenda, Despine followed the great masters. Usually his instruments are copies of Stradivaris, but occasionally he used Guarneri del Gesù as his model.
This month our illustration is of an exceptionally handsome violincello by Despine based on the Stradivarius outline. As is customary with this maker, he used well-selected wood. In this instance the one-piece back is of maple of outstanding beauty with the ribs to match. The boldly carved scroll is of well figured wood cut on the quarter. The table is of pine of medium grain at the centre, opening out towards the edges.
This cello is of small, but perfectly proportioned, dimensions, measuring 28 ¾ inches in length of body. Other measurements are: Upper Bouts, 13 inches; Middle Bouts, 9 ¼ inches; Lower Bouts, 17 1/8 inches; Ribs, 4 9/16-4 ¾ inches.