In this beautifully presented monograph, Desmond Cecil tells the full story of the Antonio Stradivari violin that came into his possession in 2004. Despite having been viewed and certified as genuine by Charles-Eugène Gand, Alfred Hill and Charles Beare, the violin had amazingly passed virtually under the radar of violin experts around the world – hardly anything about the instrument has been published until now. Cecil’s book charts its history, beginning with one of its first owners, the renowned Italian collector Count Cozio di Salabue, and right up to its dendrochronological analysis by Peter Ratcliff. The book also contains a detailed description of the instrument, complete with stunning photography by Hiroko Umezawa, and a foreword by Charles Beare. Cecil has consulted experts and dealers such as John Dilworth, and Steven Smith and Simon Morris from J.&A. Beare for this monograph, and the weight of expertise can be felt on every page.
Each monograph in this limited-edition set of 500 has been individually numbered, and signed by the author. The vellum de luxe version is an extraordinary piece with high-quality paper resembling parchment and made from calf’s skin. The skins have been stretched during the tanning process and then dried and refined to be very thin and with a translucent sheen, giving each one the look of a parchment-type translucent paper. There is no doubt that in future years this monograph will become an important and collectable part of violin-making history.
‘My hope is that, as well as reviving the long-muted voice of an extraordinarily fresh and authentic 1724 Stradivari violin., this short monograph might add something to the knowledge of this fascinating later period of Antonio Stradivari’s wonderful creativity’ – Desmond Cecil