French Violin Makers, German Violin Makers, English Violin Makers, Antonio Stradivari
Italian Violin Makers
that he fostered the idea of varying the construction of each of the four species in the family of stringed instruments according to the part which should be allotted to it. To treat each part of the stringed quartette in a different way is certainly an error, for they are to be looked upon as gradations of one and the same instrument; nevertheless, the attempt of Gasparo, although mistaken, offers but another instance of his prolific ingenuity and unwearied diligence. An praise is due to the great Brescian maker for having opened up, as a pioneer, so wide a field of research. The Cremonese artists followed up his clue, and brought the Violin to the highest state of excellence.
The chief characteristics of the works of Gasparo da Salò are the sound-holes, shortened centre-bouts, scroll, and peculiar choice of material. The length of the sound-hole at first strikes one as somewhat crude, but as the eye becomes more acquainted with the general form of the instrument, it is seen to be in perfect harmony with the primitive outline. With this sound-hole commences the pointed form to which Giuseppe Guarneri, nearly a century and a half later, gave such perfection. The material used for the larger instruments is mostly pear-wood, or wood of that description, the quality of which is particularly fine. In the selection of this wood he showed a still minuter discrimination, using it generally for Accordos and Violonos, and not for Violins or Violas; few specimens of the latter have backs of pear-wood. His work was bold, but not highly finished; no other result could be looked for at so early a date. The grain of the bellies is usually very even and well defined. Signor Dragonetti, the late eminent Double-Bass player, possessed three or four Double-Basses by this maker of various sizes. The most celebrated of these instruments was presented to him by the monks of the monastery of St. Mark's, Venice, about the year 1776, and was returned to the Canons of that Church (the monks and the monastery having been suppressed since the French occupation of Venice in 1805 or 1809) after Dragonetti's death, in 1846. Another was bequeathed by Dragonetti to the late Duke of Leinster. A third is in the possession of the Rev. George Leigh Blake. Among his chamber Double-Basses the one formerly belonging to Mr. Bennett is regarded as a singularly perfect example. It was numbered with the rarities of Luigi Tarisio's collection, and highly valued by him as a specimen of the maker. Among his Violins, the instrument formerly owned by Lord Amherst, of Hackney, is unique; the infancy of the Violin at this period is better seen here than any specimen with which I am acquainted. The Violin of this make which belonged to Ole Bull, and with which I am familiar, is another well-known example. This instrument is characteristic of its author. Its varnish is soft-looking and rich, though paler than usual. The finger-board is inlaid, and is made of a light description of wood. The head is carved and painted, and is a very choice piece of Italian work.
SANONI, Giovanni Battista, Verona. About 1740. His instruments are seldom met with in England. High model.
SANTO, Giovanni, Naples, 1700-30. Copied Amati. Varnish very hard, and workmanship indifferent.
SANZO, Milan. Middle and early eighteenth century. Similar to Grancino.
SARDI, ——, Venice, 1649. A broken Violin bearing this name was at the Milan Exhibition, 1881.
SEIGHER, Girolamo. Worked in the shop of Niccolò Amati from 1680 to 1682.
SELLAS, Matteo, Lute-maker. M. Chouquet, in his "Catalogue Raisonné" of the instruments at the Paris Conservatoire, mentions two Arch-Lutes made by this maker.
Venetijs Ann. 17—
SERAFINO, Santo, Udine—Venice, 1710-48. This maker is chiefly famed for the exquisite finish of his workmanship. The modelling of his instruments varied. There are instances, particularly in the case of his Violins, where he has entirely set aside the Stainer form, and copied Amati. These Violins are wonderfully like the work of Francesco Ruggeri. The varnish upon them, of a rich red colour, is of so exceptional a quality, that one is compelled to look twice before being satisfied as to the author. The greater number, however, of his instruments are of the German character, the sound-hole, scroll, and outline all hinting of Stainer. These Venetians were wonderfully fortunate in obtaining handsome wood, and in this respect Santo Serafino was pre-eminent, for his sides and backs are simply beautiful to perfection. His method of cutting the wood was invariably to show the grain in even stripes.