In Focus: A 1770s violin by Giovanni Antonio Marchi

Belly

Written by Alberto Giordano

Giovanni Antonio Marchi was born on 24 April 1727 in a small village on the outskirts of Bologna. His family had a long tradition of woodworking, but he lost his father when he was eight and was then raised by his uncle Natale. In around 1745 he moved with his family to the city itself. Marchi started working as a violinaro (violin maker) around 1755, when he would have been 28. This information comes directly from his own words, taken from the preface of the book on violin making that he wrote in 1786 but which was never published during his lifetime. The book, preserved in Bologna’s Archiginnasio public library, was examined and published in 1986 by the Bolognese violin maker Roberto Regazzi, who undertook intensive research both on Marchi himself and on the milieu of the city in that period.

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