Violin by Giuseppe Ornati, Milan, 1921

Violin by Giuseppe Ornati, Milan, 1921

About Giuseppe Ornati

Giuseppe Ornati was born in near Milan in 1887 and went on to be considered one of the finest Milanese violin makers of the twentieth century. He began working for the Bisiach workshop in that city in 1903, along with Bisiach´s sons and Gaetano Sgarabotto. Whilst influenced by the prolific Bisiach, Ornati developed his own distinct style and set up his own workshop in 1919, going on to win numerous prizes and to teach at the Cremona School of Violin Making.

About the violin

This violin is one of my favourites of our current stock as it is the only instrument modelled after the violins of Carlo Bergonzi. If Stradivari and del Gesù had not existed, it is my firm opinion that Bergonzi would now be considered to be the most important maker of all time. This point is somewhat negated by the fact that Bergonzi worked with Stradivari in the 1720s: perhaps his output would have been slightly different without this association!

The violin demonstrates the incredibly fine workmanship for which Ornati made his name: so much care has been taken in the making of this instrument that there is not a single tool mark to be found! The violin has a two piece maple back of soft, narrow flame which descends from the centre joint. The ribs and scroll are of similar wood, and the front is of two pieces of spruce with narrow grain under the bridge, growing broader towards the flanks. The varnish is a deep orange-gold, laid over an amber ground.

The violin has a length of back of 356mm.

How does it sound?

The violin has a beguiling, beautiful tone and feels very reliable to play. It is even across the strings and performs well in varied repertoire, standing up especially well to the demands made of the instrument by works of twentieth century. I particularly like its combination of sweetness and projection, something I look for in the finest examples of the Modern Italian school.


The violin is in excellent condition and comes with a Moennig certificate written in the year 2000. This violin featured in an article about Giuseppe Ornati by the renowned scholar Carlo Chiesa, published in the Strad magazine.

Further information

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