In Focus: An 1875 viola by Domenico Degani

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Ernst Fuchs details an instrument by the accomplished maker, now best-known as the father of Eugenio Degani

Domenico Degani is now best remembered as the father of the more well-known Eugenio Degani. However, he was an accomplished maker in his own right, although his instruments were often made very simply, with second-rate materials to keep the costs down. He lived and worked in the small village of Merlara in the region of Veneto, a few miles from the town of Montagnana and around 30 miles from Padua. His workshop was located in the Via Borgofuro.

Degani was a versatile craftsman who made violins, violas, violas da gamba, lutes and organs. He sold his work through Giovanni Battista de Lorenzi (1806–83), an organ maker based in Padua, who signed his name on Degani’s instruments. It was therefore thought for a long time that de Lorenzi was a violin maker as well, and even that Degani had been influenced by his work. Degani, who favoured Maggini and Amati models throughout his career, also did business with Francesco Lazzaretti (1852–c.1900) from nearby Vicenza…

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