Trade Secrets: Decorating a copy of a historical violin


Gold and silver leaf, glass powder and ink are all necessary in this detailed and complex process

In the past, decorated instruments were extremely popular among the nobility of many European countries, but the pictorial decoration was often entrusted to artists other than the luthier who had built the instrument. Professional decorators and artisans were given the task of expressing their skills on the instruments, which above all paid homage to kings and their kingdoms.

About ten years ago my curiosity and passion for this work led me to study how bowed stringed instruments used to be decorated. I then reproduced some of Andrea Amati’s instruments, and built and decorated the Amati ‘King’ cello for the first time in 2017…

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