One of the very few cellos made by Hendrik Jacobs himself, and the only Dutch instrument in the Calendar

1696 Hendrik Jacobs cello

The Strad’s 2022 Calendar celebrates the work of the Dutch Musical Instruments Foundation, which in the past three decades has helped around 2,500 musicians gain access to a top-quality instrument. At any one time, more than 400 musicians play on an instrument (and/or a bow) from the foundation on a long-term loan. Some of the rare instruments featured in this year’s Calendar include Antonio Stradivari’s c.1716 ‘Paul Godwin’ violin, made in the master luthier’s ‘golden period’; a c.1736 Guarneri ‘del Gesù‘, valued at €3.5 million; and the ‘ex-Navarra’ Guarneri ‘filius Andreae’ cello of 1715, formerly owned by the virtuoso André Navarra.

Hendrik Jacobs cello 1696

This is the oldest instrument in the calendar, and the only one by a Dutch maker. For decades it was assumed that Jacobs’s stepson Pieter Rombouts was responsible for the production of cellos that left the Jacobs workshop, but recent studies have shown that Jacobs was in charge of cello making as well. This is one of the very few cellos that was made by the master himself. His hand is particularly visible in the scroll, f-holes and varnish. The long and slender pegbox with a deep, sharp throat leading into an oval volute is characteristic for the scrolls Jacobs cut in the last decade of his life. The round, wide f-holes with slender wings are cleanly cut with a much more open stems than seen in Rombouts’s own cellos. Jacobs varied a lot in varnish colours throughout his career but around the end of the century he made some instruments with a transparent golden yellow varnish. The cello still retains its original label and has a double, hand-drawn, line around the edge of the paper; a decoration detail that only appears on Jacobs cellos. The cello has a surprisingly well-documented history from 1910 onwards, which is very rare for Dutch instruments. This was because the cello stayed within one family for a century! In 2010 the NMF had the opportunity to buy the cello and loaned it to Harriet Krijgh, who played the Jacobs when she won the 2012 competition of the Amsterdam Cello Biënnale.

The Strad Calendar 2022 is now available at The Strad Shop

Photos: Marcel Richters