A violin after the Messie Stradivari, made by J.B. Vuillaume of Paris in 1863 will be among the highlights of specialist Musical Instrument Auctioneers Ingles & Hayday
s sale on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 at 2pm at Sotheby's, New Bond Street, London, W1A 2AA. From the collection of Cho Ming Sin, the world's leading collector of Vuillaumes, and one of the great violin collectors of all time, it is estimated to fetch £100,000-150,000.
As Auctioneer and one of the Experts-in-Charge, Tim Ingles commented: We are delighted to be offering this wonderful violin, which was included in an exhibition of Vuillaumes work at Sothebys in October 2012. This violin is the first of three almost identical Messiah copies that were featured in the exhibition and is labelled Jean Baptiste Vuillaume à Paris, 3, rue Demours- Ternes in the usual way, but Vuillaume chooses to preface this with an additional label with the words Imitation précise du Stradiuarius du Comte Cozio de Salabue, daté 1716. Le Messie. Vuillaumes claim to have made a precise copy seems entirely valid the flame of the back, gently descending from the centre joint, and the slant of the f-holes leave us in no doubt as to the inspiration for this violin. There is a slight red-brown tinge to the varnish, making it a shade or two deeper than the usual golden orange of the Messie copies.
The violin was certified by W.E. Hill & Sons in 1954 as being in the possession of a Mr. W. Sutherland of Edinburgh, and was sold by Balmforths in 1955 to an American gentleman, Mr. Clyde Banks. It subsequently found its way into the collection of C.M. Sin. The violin bears Vuillaumes serial number 2488.
Cho Ming Sin has spent much of the last 50 years collecting some of the greatest violins on the planet Lady Blunt, Dolphin, King Joseph, Booth, Venus, Andrejeus, de Ahna, Lady Inchiquin, Duchess, Archinto, Camposelice the list reads like a Whos Who of Strads and Guarneris. But from the early 1970s, CM had also started to collect great copies of Stradivari and Guarneri, made by Giuseppe Rocca and J.B. Vuillaume. The first Vuillaume he bought was the magnificent Saint Nicolas of 1872. One by one, over the following decades, the greatest Vuillaumes available found their way to CM, and gradually they began to outnumber the Strads and del Gesùs. Today his collection of Vuillaumes is undeniably the finest in the world. At that time, many people in the violin world must have thought C.M. Sin was crazy to collect non- Italian violins, but the recent explosion in prices for Vuillaumes has certainly proved him right.
Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume holds a unique place in the history of the violin. As a maker he was the leading light of his generation, but not without peers Nicolas Lupot and Giuseppe Rocca to name but two. As a connoisseur and collector he was undeniably astute. He secured the majority of Luigi Tarisios collection, handled more Stradivaris and Guarneri del Gesùs that any violin dealer before him, and was one of the first to attach his certificate of authenticity to an instrument. As an entrepreneur he was a pioneer, employing the best violin and bow makers of the day, and producing work of such high quality that to use the term workshop to describe his output would be entirely inadequate.