1862 Vuillaume cello commissioned by Vieuxtemps to go on sale for the first time

30 Apr 2024 - Ingles & Hayday
The Strad Magazine and Slipped Disk News write about a cello by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume for sale


In 1862, the phenomenal Belgian violinist Henry Vieuxtemps asked his friend the celebrated luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume to make him a cello.

He may have wanted it for his string quartet, or maybe just for fooling around, but the instrument has survived to this day in good condion in the Veiuxtemps family. It is finally coming up for sale by auction with other Vuilllaume treasures this month.

[Click here to read the full article by Slippedisk]



Ingles & Hayday has announced that an 1862 cello by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, commissioned by celebrated violinist Henry Vieuxtemps, will go on sale for the first time this month.

The cello, modelled on Stradivari’s ‘B’ form, was commissioned by Vieuxtemps in 1862 as part of a string quartet, which has remained in the Vieuxtemps family ever since.

The Ingles & Hayday March 2024 auction marks the first time the instrument has ever come to sale. The sale will be online from 22 to 26 March. The cello is expected to fetch between £200,000 and £300,000. It will be sold with a provenance letter from the Vieuxtemps family, France, dated 21 February 2024 and a copy of Agnès Briolle-Vieuxtemps’ book Symphonie en Lac Majeur, Henry Vieuxtemps, L’âme du violin.

Instrument expert John Dilworth writes of the cello: ‘It is a fine Stradivari model, the scroll in particular an immaculately carved reproduction of the Golden Period. The body follows Stradivari’s ”B” form, one of his greatest and most innovative designs, introduced in around 1707. The materials throughout are of the finest; the back is of two matched quartered pieces, with a very regular and perfect rising flame.’

[Click here to read the rest of John Dilworth’s article]


’With my luthier friend, I shared all my thirst for sounds,’ wrote Vieuxtemps of Vuillaume. ’He confided in me that he had understood Stradivari’s secret regarding the varnish he used, I was amazed. Its sounds were indeed worthy of a Stradivarius. Vuillaume was an artist. A great artist. And he was the only one! I sent all my musician friends to his “luxury clinic” for exceptional instruments.’

Vuillaume spoke fondly of Vieuxtemps: ’I cannot find words to express all the pleasure we felt yesterday admiring you as a violinist and as a composer. Admired is the word, and we are still delighted and spellbound by your magnificent talent.’

Vieuxtemps commissioned Vuillaume in 1862, with the instruments delivered to him in 1863. When Vieuxtemps died in 1881, the entire quartet passed to his son, Maximilien Vieuxtemps (1848–1926) and then grandson Jean Vieuxtemps (1897–1959). The instruments were then shared between Henry’s great-grandchildren, with the two violins and violas sold to Étienne Vatelot and the cello remaining with Jean-François Vieuxtemps, an amateur cellist, who passed it to his children, the current owners.

[Click here to read the full article by The Strad]

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