Violin made in Mittenwald, circa 1860
This violin has now sold.
About Mittenwald violinsMittenwald is a small town in Bavaria and has been one of the centres of German violin making since the mid-17th century. The first violin maker to set up his workshop in the town was Matthias Klotz, father of the enormous Klotz dynasty. By the mid-1850s there were more than 25 luthiers with the surname Klotz registered to the town!
Other luthiers also flocked to the area, attracted not only by its reputation but also by the availability of locally grown spruce and maple which grew near to the small town in the mountains. This wood was of extremely high quality, comparable to that of Alpine wood used by the Italian masters.
One of the largest outfits in the town was a workshop called Neuner, later renamed Neuner & Hornsteiner. By 1811 the workshop was producing around 9,000 violins a year: the firm was early to move from individually-produced instruments to the workshop system of having each maker complete a different part of the process. This system allowed the workshop to produce a high number of instruments without compromising on quality. Interestingly, it also had the impact of vastly reducing the number of makers in the town who could build an entire instrument from start to finish.
About the violinThis violin was made around 1860. It is a good example of high-quality Mittenwald making, both in the rich, dark varnish and the quality of the workmanship. The violin bears many of the hallmarks of the Neuner & Hornsteiner workshop but may well have been made in another workshop in the town: as Neuner & Hornsteiner was the dominant employer in the town their processes inevitably spread to the other workshops.
The one piece back is of finely-flamed maple and the front is two pieces of fine-grained spruce. The violin is modelled after the instruments of Stradivari and the length of back is 357 mm. The varnish is a rich reddish-brown, laid over a lighter ground. There is significant craquelure to the varnish.
The violin bears a charming inscription on the back which details the name of its first owner, dated 1867.
How does it sound?This violin has a rich but projecting sound with a satisfying crunchiness to the texture. I find myself really enjoying different articulations when playing this instrument. One the spectrum of dark to light, this violin is just on the dark side of the middle. All in all, a really lovely instrument.
ConditionThe violin is in good restored condition.