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Spring Auction Results from London

Outside of the pantheon of old Italian masters, who were well represented at this year’s spring auctions in London, violins bearing the mark of France’s 19th-century master of all things violin, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, continue to top sales.

An 1873 Vuillaume violin that sold for £84,000 topped Tarisio’s sale at its London auction. Another highlight from the March 5 sale included a viola that was attributed for more than 100 years to Matteo Goffriller, the founder of the Venetian school. Still, Tarisio’s experts feel that it’s likely from a maker in 18th-century Venice, and they couldn’t wholeheartedly attribute it to Goffriller. It sold for £37,000.

An exceptionally well-preserved Giovanni Battista Rogeri violin from 1692, which fetched £228,000, became the big star of Brompton’s March 5 auction. Also of interest: a 1937 violin from Francesco Guadagnini, the last maker from the revered family, which sold for a record £45,600. Branded internally, on both plates, the Turin-made violin also featured what the maker reportedly claimed was the family’s secret varnish recipe, passed down for generations in the Guadagnini family.

The following day, Sotheby’s set a new record for a Vuillaume violin when an 1845 Vuillaume, styled after the Guarneri Del Gesù Cannon,” went for £133,250. Sotheby’s also managed seven other records for makers, including £51,650 for a violin made in 1964 by Marino Capicchioni in Rimini and £34,850 for a viola made by Turinese maker Enrico Marchetti in 1914. While not a record, the auction house found £301,250 for a “Grand Pattern” violin made by Nicolò Amati in 1682.

The action continued through Bonham’s March 7 auction, which featured a Venetian violin, described as (and which dendrochronology reports point to) having been made by Domenico Montagnana, circa 1740. It sold for £193,250, topping the high estimate of £140,000. Also going way above the £5,000–£7,000 presale estimate was a violin bow attributed to early French bow maker Jaques Lafleur. The 60-gram, silver-mounted bow sold for £23,750, a new record for a bow by that maker.

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