Menu

Giuseppe Antonio Rocca

Giuseppe Rocca learned his craft in Turin from Giovanni Francesco Pressenda, to whom he was apprenticed from 1834 to 1838. Rocca was making instruments independently by 1838, and by the mid-1840s he had departed almost entirely from Pressenda’s patterns, modelling his instruments after Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù.

The 1840s and 1850s are considered the pinnacle of Rocca’s career, and these years produced some superlative violins, both aesthetically and tonally. At some point he must have made the acquaintance of the collector Luigi Tarisio, who had acquired much of Count Cozio’s collection in 1827. It was through Tarisio that Rocca became acquainted with the ‘Messie’ Stradivari of 1716 and the ‘Alard’ Guarneri del Gesù of 1742, and he made numerous copies of both instruments. The 1852 ‘Messie’ copy is unusual in that it has a deep red varnish, no doubt an attempt to recreate some of the quality of the original. The 1850 violin is more typical of Rocca’s Stradivari copies and was undoubtedly given its antiqued look by the maker. Some of his instruments are made from a worm-infested plank said to have been taken from a bridge in Turin (see the back of the 1846 ‘Alard’ copy).

From 1851, Rocca commuted between Turin and Genoa, finally settling in Genoa in 1863. He seems to have had an extremely turbulent domestic life, apparently due to a love of drink, gambling and women. He was married five times and it has been suggested that his last wife, aged 18, may have driven him to his death by drowning in 1865.

Giuseppe Antonio Rocca

(b Barbaresco, nr. Alba, 1807; d Genoa, 1865)

Giuseppe Rocca learned his craft in Turin from Giovanni Francesco Pressenda, to whom he was apprenticed from 1834 to 1838. Rocca was making instruments independently by 1838, and by the mid-1840s he had departed almost entirely from Pressenda’s patterns, modelling his instruments after Stradivari and Guarneri del Gesù.

The 1840s and 1850s are considered the pinnacle of Rocca’s career, and these years produced some superlative violins, both aesthetically and tonally. At some point he must have made the acquaintance of the collector Luigi Tarisio, who had acquired much of Count Cozio’s collection in 1827. It was through Tarisio that Rocca... Read more

Instruments we have sold by this maker

Articles

Giuseppe Rocca: The Ex-Alfredo Campoli violin, 1843

05 June 2018 - Dilworth, John

Giuseppe Rocca was born in 1807 in Barbaresco, a town in Piedmont now famous for its wine. He did not remain there long however. By about 1822 he was working in Turin, where he came under the influence of Giovanni... Read more

Looking to Buy or Sell an Instrument by this Maker?

Selling with Ingles & Hayday

We offer buyers and sellers a bespoke private sale service, sourcing exceptional instruments and bows and matching them with the most discerning buyers...

More Information

Buying at Ingles & Hayday

Tim Ingles and Paul Hayday will offer an initial evaluation of the authenticity and value of your instrument or bow to recommend an auction estimate and reserve price for your instrument or bow...

Enquire

Written Valuations & Certificates

Tim Ingles and Paul Hayday will offer an initial evaluation of the authenticity and value of your instrument or bow. At this stage, the assessment is free and without obligation. In the first instance, we suggest submitting good-quality images to us, preferably by email to info@ingleshayday.com or by completing the valuation form.

Read more

Buying at Ingles & Hayday

We hold two auctions a year at Sotheby’s in London, generally in March and October. We also have a selection of instruments and bows for private sale all year round. Please contact us for more information.

Back to Notable Sales