Violin by Alessandro Gagliano, Naples, circa 1720

Violin by Alessandro Gagliano, Naples, circa 1720

About Alessandro Gagliano

Alessandro Gagliano was the founder of the great Gagliano dynasty of Naples and the first known violin maker in that city. He was active from around 1700 to 1730: little is known about his early years or even his training as a luthier. It is most likely that he learnt his craft from one of the the Füssen-trained lute makers working in Naples at the time.

His work is fascinatingly distinct from the later Neapolitan school: even his two sons made on a more Cremonese model despite having trained with their father. His style is much more individual, based on an Amatise outline but with incredibly beautiful, flowing f-holes which are very much his own design. His links to the Füssen school can be seen in the decoration of the pegbox, present in some of his instruments.

Historically, Alessandro Gagliano was thought to have been a pupil of Stradivari. This story most likely came about due to the exceptional quality of his work and the lack of possible teachers in his home town. Seen as a product of his own talent and vision, the story of a luthier trained by lute makers and confident enough to develop his own unique model is even more compelling.

About the violin

The violin was made in Naples towards the later part of Gagliano's career. The corners are shorter than in the earlier instruments, giving the instrument an elegant but still hugely personal appearance.

The violin has a one piece back of highly figured maple, characteristic of the maker. The ribs and scroll are of similar wood. The front is two pieces of relatively irregular spruce and the varnish is a rich red in colour, laid over a lighter golden ground.

The violin has a length of back of 355 mm.

How does it sound?

This is an incredibly lovable violin! Like many of the great instruments, it's quite hard to describe its character as it's so easy to change colour. It's even and warm but projects brilliantly. The violin sings its way through the orchestral solos and has that unusual quality of filling a large concert hall without screaming under the ear.


The violin is in good restored condition and a full condition report is available. Although the violin is very sound structurally, it is anticipated that the next owner may wish to improve the cosmetic appearance of some of these repairs.


The violin comes with the 1941 certificate of J. and A. Beare with the option of further certification available.

Futher information

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