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From the Archive: a violin by Carlo Bergonzi, Cremona, 1732, ‘Tarisio’

Monday, 21 July 2014

This illustration of a violin by Carlo Bergonzi was published in The Strad, June 1964. The following text is extracted from the article accompanying the photographs:

Carlo Bergonzi will always rank as one of the greatest of the Cremonese makers as a number of his violins equal in originality and boldness, as well as in workmanship, the best work of the great triumvirate, Nicolo Amati, Antonio Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesu.

Only about 50 violins made by Carlo Bergonzi are known. His output may have been larger but his violins were often not labelled or have had a fictitious label of Guarneri del Gesù inserted.

One of the principal distinguishing features of Bergonzi’s violins is the lengthened centre bouts gained at the expense of the bottom curves. This together with the position of the sound-holes low in the body of the instrument, are points to be noted.

The outstanding Bergonzi illustrated here belongs to the master’s middle period. It has an interesting history being one of the violins sold by Luigi Tarisio, the most famous of all violin hunters, to J.B. Vuillaume of Paris. Vuillaume later sold it to George Hart who described it as ‘one of the finest of its kind’. Mr Hart later sold it to the distinguished American collector, Mr John P. Waters, from whose possession it passed to Mr R.D. Hawley, of Hartford, Connecticut, whose large collection of masterpieces of the luthier’s art was later acquired by Lyon & Healy, of Chicago. The ‘Tarisio’ is now in the possession of Mr Ted Marchetti, the American violin collector, who is offering it for sale.

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