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Ex-Croall; McEwen Antonio Stradivari
(Cremona, b 1644; d 1737)
labelled Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1684 AS
length of back 14 1/16 in., 35.7cm.
The certificate of W.E. Hill & Sons, London, dated 5th May 1908
A letter from W.E. Hill & Sons, London, dated 5th May 1908
A letter from W.E. Hill & Sons, London, dated 28th April 1908
The certificate of Jean Werro, Bern, dated 3rd January 1985
Ernest Doring: How Many Strads?, p. 48
W.H., A.F. & A.E. Hill: Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work, p. 38
Jost Thöne: Antonius Stradiuarius, Vol. I, pp. 136-143
A Genuine Masterpiece, The Violin 'Ex-Croall' of Antonio Stradivari, 2012, including a full listing of concerts played on the violin by Frank Peter Zimmermann
The first recorded owner of the violin is Countess Seafield, who sold it in 1885 or 1886 via Sir William Fraser to the Scottish violinist William Croall. During his career, Croall played some of the great Stradivari violins, including the 'Parke' of 1711 and the 'Cessole' of 1716. The violin remained in Croall's possession until his death in 1906, when it passed to his friend Frederick Smith. Smith owned various other Stradivaris, including the 'Paganini' of 1727, the 'Goetz; Hawaiian' of 1695, the 'Lord Amherst' of 1734 and the 'Smith; Quersin' of 1714.
In 1908 Smith sold the violin to W.E. Hill & Sons for £500, trading it for the celebrated 'Tuscan' violin of 1690. Hills sold the 'Croall' soon afterwards to R.F. McEwen for £550, commenting that it was fitting for the violin to return to Scotland, given its recent Scottish ownership. The next recorded owner of the violin is the Countess of Scarbrough, who offered it for sale at Sotheby's in December 1968, where it was sold to Henry Werro, the Swiss dealer and collector who had owned the 'Lady Blunt' Stradivari in the 1940s and 50s.
The violin remained with the Werro family until 1985, when it was sold by Jean Werro, and between 1985 and 1990 it was the concert violin of the young German soloist Frank Peter Zimmermann. In 1995 the 'Ex-Croall' became part of the collection of the Westdeutsche Landesbank. The bank has since loaned the instrument to various soloists including Alexander Gilman and Suyoen Kim.
Frank Peter Zimmermann:
Warner Classics,1985: Paganini 24 Capricci Op.1
EMI Classics, 1986: Mozart Violin Concertos No. 1 & 4 - Württembergisches Kammerorchester, Jörg Faerber
EMI Classics, 1986: Mendelssohn Violin Concertos - Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Gerd Albrecht
EMI Classics, 1987: Prokofiev Violin Sonatas 1 & 2 - Alexander Lonquich
EMI Classics, 1988: Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto & Prokofiev Violin Concerto N° 1 – Berliner Philharmoniker, Lorin Maazel
Warner Classics, 1988: Bach Violin Concertos & Concerto for Violin and Oboe - Neil Black, English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate
EMI Classics, 1988: Beethoven Violin Concerto & Romances - English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate
EMI Classics, 1989: Mozart Piano Quartets 1 & 2 - Christian Zacharias, Tilmann Wick, Tabea Zimmermann
EMI Classics, 1990: Mozart Violin Sonatas Nos 17-28 & 32-35 - Alexander Lonquich
£1,300,000-£2,000,000 (€1,520,000 - €2,350,000)
PRICE REALISED: £1,920,000
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