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Cello by Antonio Stradivari, c. 1730 ex “Pawle”

Tags: Antonio Stradivari | cello

The cello was made in 1730, and it may have been produced by his apprentices under his supervision, since Antonio was in his old age at the time. It is in extremely good condition and the high notes are especially remarkable. Much of the original reddish-brown lacquer has remained; this type of lacquer is characteristic of a 1730s Stradivari. The body of the cello is 74.6 cm long; the center of the two-piece back features delicate scrollwork that gradually tails off towards the sides. The central part of the front has a beautiful grain, which grows coarser further out. On both sides of the cello bear delicate scrollwork. The head is made from wood of a less pronounced grain.

This cello was named after the English collector Frederick Pawle, although the instrument information website gives its name as “Ben Venuto”. The instrument has an interesting story; it may have been among the large number of cellos and violins that the Italian violin dealer Luigi Tarisio (1790–1854) brought to Paris and transferred to another French violin dealer J. B. Vuillaume (1798–1875). It was subsequently owned by several famous musicians, collectors and violin dealers, including W. E. Hill and Sons of London, the German cellist Hugo Becker (1863–1941), and the German-American instrument dealer Emil Herrmann (1888–1968). Having been owned at one time by almost all of the noted violin and cello collectors, it is now in the collections of the Chi Mei Foundation.


Text and images are provided by Music Digital Archives Center, National Taiwan Normal University (Digital Violin Archive Project of Chi Mei Museum)