A violin after the Messie Stradivari by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume

Paris, 1863

labelled Imitation précise du Stradiuarius de Comte Cozio de Salabue, daté 1716, le "Messie" fait par Jean Baptiste Vuillaume à Paris, 3 rue Demours-Ternes JBV, signed, dated and branded internally on the back and numbered 2488

length of back 35.7cm.

This violin is one of three almost identical Messiah copies in Notable Sales, dated 1863, 1871 and 1873. It is labelled Jean Baptiste Vuillaume à Paris, 3, rue Demours-Ternes in the usual way, but Vuillaume chooses to preface this with an additional label with the words Imitation précise du Stradiuarius du Comte Cozio de Salabue, daté 1716. Le “Messie” fait par.

Vuillaume’s claim to have made a precise copy seems entirely valid – the flame of the back, gently descending from the centre joint, and the slant of the f-holes leave us in no doubt as to the inspiration for this violin, though the grain of the front is possibly a less faithful match than that of the 1856 violin. There is a slight red-brown tinge to the varnish, making it a shade or two deeper than the usual golden orange of the Messie copies.

The violin was certified by W.E. Hill & Sons in 1954 as being in the possession of a Mr. W. Sutherland of Edinburgh, and was sold by Balmforths in 1955 to an American gentleman by the rather Scottish sounding name of Mr. Clyde Banks. Inevitably, it subsequently found its way into the collection of C.M. Sin.

Detail of the back of the violin

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Articles related to this instrument

Tim Ingles remembers Sotheby’s Vuillaume exhibition of 2012

15 June 2020

Introduction In the autumn of 2012, which also turned out to be the autumn of my career at Sotheby’s, I had the privilege of handling some of the finest instruments by J.B. Vuillaume, and staging an exhibition of his work... Read more

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