Description: this violin is a fine Italian instrument, the work of Ettore Soffritti of Ferrara. It dates from c.1897-1910. It is a fine and characteristic example of the maker’s work.

Measurements: 36.0cm in length of body, with widths of 16.8cm and 20.4cm.

Violin maker: Soffritti, Ettore. Born 1877, died 1928 Ferrara Italy. Son and pupil of Luigi Soffritti, below. Medals awarded in Rome 1923, Brussels 1910, Ferrara and Turin 1911. Knighted in 1925. A loyal and very distinguished exponent of the ‘Emilian school’, inspired by Marconcini, he in turn inspired many other makers in the Emilia Romagna region. Very neat and well-organised work, with softened but well-defined rounded edges. Scroll beautifully concentric and finely balanced, with a delicately rounded and consistent chamfer. Low archings. Excellently placed and cut soundholes. Fine transparent oil varnish, soft and reflective, in various shades of golden-orange. Some instruments branded: ‘E.Sofritti’. [John Dilworth]


Upon graduating this summer from music college, I was faced with the worrying predicament of starting to forge my performance career without the use of a high-quality violin. During my studies I had been loaned good instruments from my college, but this of course could not continue beyond graduation and I simply do not have the means to afford such a violin of my own at this stage. I was though very fortunate to be put in touch with the Harrison-Frank Family Foundation and to subsequently be granted the generous, year-long loan of one of their wonderful instruments – an Ettore Soffritti c.1900.

Practicing on an instrument of this quality each day is a real boost to my development, providing me with a wealth of colours and expressive potential to explore. I can feel confident and excited going into any performance, knowing that the violin is facilitating, even enhancing, everything I am looking to communicate in the music. I am extremely grateful to the Harrison-Frank foundation for providing me with this means to embark into my professional performing life fully equipped and free to make the most of all opportunities.

Matthew Chambers, September 2017