Lot 157: An Important Italian Violin by G. B. Rogeri, Cremona 1692
£120,000 - £160,000
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An Important Italian Violin by G. B. Rogeri, Cremona 1692
The Ex Robert Bower. Property of a Gentleman.This instrument is in an exceptional state of preservation. Giovanni Battista Rogeri is one of the few luthiers who emerged from an apprenticeship with Nicolo Amati and forged a successful independent career. Established in Brescia from at least 1664, he seems to have retained all the characteristic elements of Amati's technique and accurate craftsmanship, while developing a recognisably original style of his own. This seems to reference Stainer in the archings and soundholes, but the delicate corners, and bold carving of the head are quite personal. This violin comes from quite late in his working life, and is a mature and refined example. Rogeri consistently used extremely fine materials, and deep and regular figure throughout the maple parts, often cut from the same log, is frequently encountered in his instruments. Here, the ribs have a slightly lighter flame than the back and scroll, but the effect is harmonious. The head is typical of his work; the scroll is quite large but neatly concentric, very flat around the pegbox sides and first turn of the volute, but cut deeply into the eye. Regular small vertical gouge strokes, seen all around the upright wall of the spiral, are another defining feature. The varnish is somewhat worn, but rich, dark amber colours remain in the edges of the back. Rogeri does not seem to have used the redder shades found in Cremona, and most of his work has a pale golden yellow appearance, very much like that of the early Amatis, and using a similar ground. . The violin has an honourable provenance, having been part of the extensive collection of Robert Bower of Minehead in the mid 20th cent. Bower was a renowned collector, whom W.E.Hill & Sons supplied with many of the finest Italian works, including the 1721 'Lady Blunt' Stradivari and the 1738 'Kemp/Emperor' Guarneri del Gesu. Several other distinguished instruments still bear his name.
Bearing an original label and dated 1692
Sold with a certificate from W. E. Hill & Sons.
by G B Rogeri
Length of back: 13 15/16ins, 354mm.
The violin is a very fine and characteristic example of the maker's work, bearing an orginal label. The front appears to be in very good condition overall. Although there are many small cracks around the edges of the plate, only a few are substantial, at the soundpost and in both lower bouts. The small soundpost crack is contained within a medium sized patch fitted internally, and the other cracks are supported with wooden cleats on the interior. None appear to be open or in a weak state, apart from one dark crack in the chin rest area. There is a cap on the lower bass corner, and a new edge fitted to the upper half of the treble 'c' bout. There is a small patch and half-edge under the top block. Otherwise there is remarkably little disturbance to the edges. The thickness of the top is typical for this maker's work, from 2.6mm in the breast to a minimum 1.6mm in the extreme edges, and appears to be original. The arching appears strong and stable, although the treble soundhole wing is slightly depressed.
The back is in excellent state. There is a small patch under the upper block, and a hairline crack beside the back button, but otherwise the plate appears to be substantially original and unaltered. The thicknesses are again typical for this maker, ranging from 4.5 in the centre, to a minimum of 1.6 in the extreme edges.
The ribs are also in a very good state of preservation. The lower rib remains in one piece, and the only repair work is confined to the area of the lower block, with a small vertical crack on the bass side and a horizontal crack on the treble side, both od which are perfectly solid. There is a small half-moon shaped maple insert beneath the saddle, where an extended ebony saddle was once fitted.
The scroll is also in excellent condition. There appear to be no repairs apart from the neck graft, and single bushings in each peghole.
The varnish is generally worn; darker coloured layers are apparent in the edges of the back 'c' bouts, but overall, the ground is intact and original, and the violin has a pure and appropriate appearance. *