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Reference Library Articles

Violin by Giuseppe Rocca, 1839

This is a particularly fine and early Rocca violin, the original label indicating that is was made shortly after making his independence from his master Giovanni Francesco Pressenda. It is beautifully preserved, with a virtually full coat of undisturbed varnish. Made on a very well-observed Stradivari model, it shows the characteristic Rocca edgework in almost new condition, the deep flute above the purfling rising to a sharp ridge very close to the perimeter, and with short, squared-off corners. The purfling is also exemplary of Rocca’s workmanship, with thin black elements and a distinctive kink in the corner mitres. The back is a handsome piece of maple, cut in one piece on the slab, although with a small wing on the upper bass edge. The head is also of slab cut maple, and is modelled a little flatly, but has the blackened chamfer appropriate to a Golden Period Stradivari pattern. The front is graced by a pair of beautifully executed soundholes, crisply defined and cleanly fluted in the lower wing. Rocca was perhaps the defining maker of his generation, easily able to work within the Italian tradition while making very fluent copies of Stradivari and Guarneri in his own clear and defined style.

A Very Fine Italian Violin by Giuseppe Rocca, Turin 1839