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Maidstone violin, Murdoch & Co. London approx. 1900 - top
Maidstone violin, Murdoch & Co. London approx. 1900 - top
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Provenance: London / Saxony
Maker: Murdoch & Co.
Length of back: 33.7 cm
Year: 1900 circa
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3/4 sized violin from the “Maidstone” project by Murdoch & Co., London

This 3/4 sized violin with an exceptionally beautiful sound was built around 1900 for the Maidstone Movement, an initiative run by British instrument vendor Murdoch & Co. The instrument's outstanding musical qualities clearly reflect the fascinating business idea and the significant impact that the Maidstone brand had on musical culture as a whole. In 1898, Murdoch & Co. began importing large numbers of good-quality stringed instruments from the Bohemian-Saxonian "Musikwinkel" of Germany and Czechoslovakia as the basis of an ambitious project towards greater musical education. By 1909, a mere eleven years later, over 400,000 children hired an instrument and took part in music classes at their schools as part of the newly founded Maidstone Movement. The curriculum was also issued and sold by Murdoch & Co., based on a concept they themselves designed. Murdoch & Co. is said to have done a brisk business with the fees earned by lending the instruments, holding classes and selling the workbooks – and at the same time it gave thousands of children from lower-income families the chance to learn how to play an interesting instrument. This ¾-size Maidstone with its original label shows strong traces of use on its attractive orange-red varnish — a further confirmation of the programme's success. With its clear, resonant and dark voice which has matured as the violin has aged, it continues to motivate students today: in terms of its fullness and character, the sound can hold its own against many full-sized instruments. Beautiful tone woods, especially the attractive flamed back, shape the identity of this instrument, which we offer in excellent condition: it is ready to be played immediately after being carefully worked over by our violin maker.

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