The quartet of instruments bought from Vuillaume by Victor Charles Antoine de Riquet, second Duc de Caraman, is probably the best known of Vuillaume’s decorated quartets. Legend has it that the quartet was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1867 in Paris, where it was spotted by the duke, who presumably requested that his family’s coat of arms be added to the instruments. The quartet had been completed in 1865 and the instruments are numbered 2609-2612, with the cello numbered first.
It is likely that the complete quartet was purchased directly from the Caraman family by W.E. Hill & Sons, who sold the viola and the violin numbered 2611 to Nathan Posner in 1923. It is very exciting to be able to present these two instruments in Notable Sales, reunited so many years later.
In 1954 the viola was sold by Wurlitzers to Carl J. Eberl of Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1993 it was in the possession of Yoshihiro Sawada, and it was acquired by C.M. Sin in 2005. In 2011 it became part of the collection of the Chi Mei Foundation of Tainan, Taiwan.
Detail of the back of the violin