For sale: a slice of history

In my opinion, the 17th century luthiers from the Low Countries are one of the most well developed but under-appreciated schools of violin making. There are a number of really fantastic makers, each with their own distinctive style, whose work is largely remarkably close to what was going on in 17th century Cremona. Whilst there are of course significant differences between the two schools, the Low Country luthiers were working towards a broadly Amatese ideal.

This violin is in a wonderfully pure condition and sounds just fantastic. It was made mainly by Hendrik Jacobs, in the style of Amati and bears a label stating that it was made by the Brothers Amati. Although Jacobs did put his own label in many of his instruments, this label may well be original and intended as a statement about the closeness of the copy by this highly-skilled maker.

At some point in the 20 or 30 years after it was made, the top must have been damaged in some way and the violin brought back to the same workshop. By this point, Henrik Jacobs was no longer working and it was his son-in-law Pieter Rombouts who made a replacement top for this instrument. Having had a dendrochronology test done on the table, we know that the youngest bass side piece of grain dates from 1666, and the youngest treble from 1694, so the replacement top was made some time in the decade after this. The replacement top makes the instrument more affordable but does not affect the amazingly rich tone in any way: in fact, you could look at the instrument as a chance to own a violin by two of the most famous Dutch makers for the less than the price of one!