The Harrison-Frank Family Foundation

55 Venetian

Description: This violin is a fine old Italian instrument, of the Venetian school. It dates from c. 1720-30.

Measurements: 35.1 cm full in length of body, with widths of 16.2 cm full and 20.1 cm.

Violin maker: Venetian school. Italy’s reputation for bowed string instruments was build up in an oddly reflexive way. Although Venetians, Bolognese and Brescians were also among the pioneers of violin making, only in Cremona did the craft survive and flourish into the 17th century. When the trade in violins grew in the second half of the century following the plagues, Italy was re-populated by German-trained makers. Virtually all the successful schools of violin making in the 18th century – Naples, Bologna, Venice, Rome and Turin – were sparked into life by immigrant craftsmen, often with direct connections to the small Tyrolean town of Füssen, a traditional centre of skilled woodworking and lute making. This repeated an earlier migration: only a few generations previously, the celebrated Füssen-born lute makers Tieffenbrucker and Maler established workshops in Venice and Bologna. Violin making re-entered Italy via the scenic route, but soon the new professionals had fully acclimatised themselves to their new home, and their lutherie became Italianised. [John Dilworth]