Giuseppe Guarneri

By George Hart

son of Andrea, 1680—1730. This maker possessed a greater amount of originality than Andrea. His earliest works evidence that power of thinking for himself which, later, led him to construct instruments entirely distinct from those produced by his father. The outline is particularly striking. The waist of the instrument is narrowed, rapidly widening, however, from the centre. The result is a curve of much elegance, one of the points which Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu appears to have admired, as he adopted and perfected it. It is here, more particularly, that a resemblance between this maker and his famous kinsman is to be traced. There are also other features which will furnish matter for comment in their proper place. To return to the form given to the instruments of Guarneri, the son of Andrea : the sound-hole has a singular combination of the Amati and the Guarneri in its conception. We have here a reappearance of the pointed form which originated with the grand old Brescian master, Gasparo da Salo, and which was left by him to be revived and perfected by his followers. Andrea's son, in adopting this long neglected form, showed much judgment. It must be admitted that he improved upon it, and left his cousin an easy task in completing and perfecting it. The method of this maker with regard to the setting of the sound-holes in his instruments is peculiar. In his plan they are set in a lower position than is customary. Carlo Bergonzi followed him in this particular, and also in placing the hole a trifle nearer the edge of the instrument than is seen in most instruments. How interesting is it to observe the salient points wherein each maker seems to have adopted some isolated feature from a predecessor! The varnish is of the richest description, and in numerous instances has been so plentifully used as to cause it to clot in some places; nevertheless, its rare qualities are never deadened. The instruments of this truly great maker are being rapidly bought up in all parts of Europe, and their value is, in consequence, much enhanced. He made Violins, Violas, and Violoncellos, the latter being very scarce. The wood used in his Violins and Violas varies, but may be pronounced as generally handsome ; that of his Violoncellos is, on the contrary, chiefly plain, and the workmanship somewhat careless, but the tone is always fine in quality. It would seem that he had no particular liking to work the larger instruments, and he devoted his time to the smaller specimens, which are, however, patterns of careful handiwork.

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£ 289,750.00
Highest auction price achieved