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Sale: 14th June 2010

Lot 134: An Important Italian Violin by Domenico Montagnana, Venice circa 1723


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£250,000 - £350,000

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This is an archive lot from a previous sale. Please contact us if you are looking to purchase or sell a similar instrument. Brompton's will be happy to guide you through the process and discuss the best options available to you.

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* - 20% buyers premium & 5% hammer price


Property of Dr. Bertrand R. Jacobs. An Important Italian Violin by Domenico Montagnana, Venice circa. 1723 Certifcates: <br/><a href='http://www.bromptonsauctioneers.com/certificate.pdf' target='_blank'>W.E.Hill & Sons London 1928</a><br/>Emile Herrmann New York 1942<br/><br/>Provenance:<br/>Sadah Schuchari 1928 - 1942<br/>Josef Roisman 1942 - 1962<br/>Dr. Bertrand R. Jacobs 1962 -


Labelled: Dom... Montagnana sub Signum Cremone netiis 1723


Certificate from Hermann made out to Josef Roisman, earlier certificate from W.E. Hill and Sons, 1928


by Domenico Montagnana


Length of back: 13 7/8ins, 352mm


The Budapest String Quartet, originally founded by four Hungarian friends, all proteges of Jeno Hubay and David Popper, eventually consisted of four Russians, Josef Roisman, Alexander Schneider, Boris Kroyt, and Mischa Schneider, eliciting a quote from Jascha Heifitz 'One Russian is an anarchist. Two Russians are a chess game. Three Russians are a revolution. Four Russians are the Budapest String Quartet.' The man recommended to replace Imre Pogany as first violin in 1932 was Josef Roisman (Joe). Roisman was born on 25 July 1900 in Odessa. He started on the violin at the age of six with Pyotr Stolyarsky, who was also the first teacher of David Oistrakh and Nathan Milstein. After the Russian Revolution, Roisman was co-opted to play at farms and factories. He managed to escape in 1923 while working near Poland. He traveled to Prague, then to Berlin. In Berlin, Roisman met up with Kroyt, who found work for him in a film orchestra. It was during this time that the quartet offer came. Roisman was comfortable and secure in the orchestra but his first love was chamber music. In the end his wife Polo persuaded him to take the financial risk and sacrifice involved, and rest is history. The Budapest String Quartet, is remembered as one of the past century's greatest ensembles, particularly in its element with Beethoven's middle quartets. The group's approach to these seminal works is faithful yet original, playing with a striking cross between the multi-hued zeal and scope of orchestral playing and the freedom and flexibility of chamber music, creating an intoxicating combination. The magnificent Montagnana violin owned by Joseph Roisman was purchased in 1942 from Emile Herrmann in New York. Herrmann's certificate is addressed to Josef Roisman. The violin is accompanied by an earlier certificate from W.E.Hill & Sons, London dated 1928 and made out to Miss Sadah Schuchari. By John Dilworth This is an extremely fine example of the work of Domenico Montagnana, and bears an unusual authentic handwritten label dated 1723, stating his usual address 'sub titulo Cremona'. The date is early; there is little recorded work prior to 1720, and the maker seems to have been most prolific in the following two decades. Nevertheless it is stylistically fully developed, and there is little obvious debt to his master, Matteo Gofriller. The arching is low and full, not of the Stainer type evident in some Montagnana violins. The back is made from a single piece of quarter-sawn maple which has a deep and regular narrow flame descending from left to right. The head is of similar stock, and the ribs show a rather broader flame. The front is of two matched pieces of spruce with very fine growth at the centre, broadening only a little at the edges. The strongly-modelled soundholes have distinctive Amatise features and are set quite low on the front. The stop length is not extreme however, and is presently set slightly short. The position of the soundholes and of their centre nicks is quite variable in Montagnana's work in general. The whole instrument is extremely well covered with original varnish, which is deep textured and strongly tinted with red, fully characteristic of Montaganana's application. It is an a very fine state of preservation, and was for many years the concert instrument of Josef Roisman of the Budapest Quartet.