Viola by Stephanie Irvine, Newark, 2016
About Stephanie IrvineAt 18, Stephanie apprenticed with the luthier Guust François in Amsterdam, where she made a viola after the 16th century Brescian maker Gasparo da Salo. She went on to the Newark School of Violin Making, studying with and working alongside the makers Melvin Goldsmith and David Rattray.
After graduating in 2017, she moved home to Scotland and set up a workshop in Glasgow with her partner Linus Andersson, a luthier from Sweden. She has since made violins, violas and cellos that are played by students and professionals alike.
About the violaThe viola was made in 2016, whilst Stephanie was still studying at the Newark School of Violin Making. It is modelled after the Andrea Guarneri 'Conte Vitale' viola of 1676. This viola was once described by the Hill family as one of the finest Italian instruments in existence and is a very popular model for both makers and violists alike.
The viola has a one-piece maple back. The front is two pieces of fairly narrow-grained spruce and the varnish is a rich brownish-red, laid over a lighter golden ground. The varnish has been subtly antiqued and the length of back is 15 and 7/8 inches.
How does it sound?The viola rings well and is easy to play, its slightly smaller size allowing for a comfortable experience. Conte Vitale model violas are usually prized for their combination of power and warmth: this instrument captures these qualities nicely.
ConditionThe viola is in original mint condition.
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