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pId1
Provenance: probably Prag
Maker: unknown
Length of back: 36.1 cm
Year: c. 1900
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Interesting Master violin, probably from Prague, Johann Georg Hellmer replica

This instrument is a masterpiece of Bohemian violin making, and its large and powerful sound will satisfy the utmost in musical standards. With the exception of the original provenance, the history of this interesting antique instrument is very well documented. It was restored and sold by the Prague luthier Otakar František Špidlen in 1918, as is confirmed by Špidlen’s dated repair label and a certificate he issued himself in the year 1949. In 1970, the violin made its way back to the Špidlen family’s workshop, at which time Premysl Otakar Špidlen – the son of Otakar František and father of the internationally sought-after contemporary master Jan B. Špidlen – confirmed his father’s role by issuing an additional appraisal. Otakar und Premysl Špidlen regarded this violin as an authentic work by Prague master Johann Georg Hellmer – an assessment we do not share. Instead, the excellently crafted instrument is a masterful replica of a classic Hellmer violin which was probably made around 1900. Its distinctive character is defined by strikingly lovely moderately-grained spruce and the finest tightly-flamed maple with a heavily antiqued brown oil varnish over a lighter base coat. Another eye-catching feature is the relatively large interval between the margin and the purfling. The scroll was grafted on at a later time, and below that there is a violin-making curiosity: a hole for the A-string that runs all the way through to the back of the peg box. This Czech master violin has been preserved in very good condition and is in full voice after having been thoroughly set up at our workshop. With its warmth and maturity in the lower registers, its singing voice is compelling and features a bright radiance in the upper registers. We strongly recommend it!

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