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Sotheby's to sell violin by Nicolò Amati in London sale of Musical Instruments to be held in March
Violin dated 1682, by Nicolò Amati, estimate £250,000-350,000*. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby's London sale of Musical Instruments on Tuesday, 6 March, 2012 will offer a violin by Nicolò Amati, one of the greatest names in violin making history. Long considered the teacher of Stradivari, Nicolò was the grandson of the inventor of the violin, Andrea Amati, and was the leading violin maker in Italy from 1630 to 1684. This violin is made on his finest model, known as the ‘Grand Pattern’ and dates from 1682, the final years of his life, when he was assisted by his son Girolamo. The beautiful, regular grain of the alpine spruce of the front and the lustrous golden varnish are unmistakeable signs of its Cremonese heritage. It is estimated at £250,000-350,000.

Cremona had become the undisputed centre of violin making in Europe by the turn of the seventeenth century. A new music aesthetic had emerged in Western Europe during the sixteenth century, and soloists were feted for displays of virtuosic brilliance and emotive interpretations of composers’ scores. The violin had grown in significance, as both a solo instrument and as a vital component of the string orchestra, a new phenomenon.

Further highlights in the sale include a violin by J.B. Vuillaume, made in Paris in 1845. Vuillaume was one of the leading French makers of the nineteenth century, and particularly renowned for his copies of old Italian instruments. The present violin is a copy of Paganini’s Guarneri violin, known as the ‘Cannon’. It comes to sale with an estimate of £80,000-120,000. Also on offer is a violin by Gennaro Gagliano, produced in Naples circa 1760 and estimated at £40,000-60,000. Gennaro was one of the leading makers of the Gagliano family, the foremost violin makers in Naples from 1700 to 1830. The Milanese makers of the eighteenth century are particularly renowned for their cellos and the auction will present a cello by Carlo Antonio Testore, made in Milan, circa 1750, estimate £80,000-120,000.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium

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