This Stradivari model viola is a little on the small side, making it easy to get around. Its condition is very good, with only a few cosmetic blemishes to the varnish.
Made in Cremona in 1989, this must be just about the most resonant instrument I've ever played. It is almost as though it thanks you for playing in tune by humming along. At 17 and a half inches, this viola would be ideal for those searching for a larger instrument. SOLD.
£6,000 to £20,000
This is an instrument with some air miles! It was made in 2005 in Australia by James Robinson, a pupil of the wonderful Cremonese maker, Morassi.
At 407mm or 16 inches, this viola is a brilliant all-rounder. It has a big sound, but with slim shoulders it's not difficult to get around. My favourite thing about it is the varnish; rich, thick and with a lot of depth to the colour, you can be sure that this is a classy instrument.
The great Matthew Hardie is undisputedly the finest luthier of the Scottish school. This instrument, dating from 1823 is a late example and is in perfect condition. Although not lacking in volume, this viola has an intimate tone quality with an especially beautiful and cantabile A string.
A E Smith
This viola was made by the celebrated Australian maker, Arthur Edward Smith. Many fine musicians have owned and played Smiths instruments, including Stern, Ricci, Oistrakh and Menuhin who had more than one!
With a length of back of 408mm, the viola is comfortable to play and effortlessly makes an enormous, rich sound. It's very easy to see why Smith's instruments are so sought after.
For more reading on this excellent maker, please check out Sean Bishop's article here: http://tarisio.com/cozio-archive/cozio-carteggio/a-e-smith/