Composite Violin

Description (Brief)
This violin was made in England by an unknown maker in the late 18th century. It was converted from an English violoncello from around 1680. The violin table is from the upper breast of a cello top, inverting the ornament beneath the fingerboard. A violin outline was cut from the cello top and new edge material was imposed and hidden by traditional purfling. New f-holes and a violin bass bar completed the violin table construction. For the back, the lower center bout from the cello was cut to form a violin outline, and reshaped to approximate the violin arching. New edge overlay and a new button were added, and the back was purfled to match the table.
In its new violin form, the style of this instrument remains strongly English in character, including the late 18th century pegbox and scroll – the single major foreign addition to the violoncello materials. Finally, while there is significant varnishing and retouching to the body edges, much original varnish from the cello remains untouched, of rich semi-transparent reddish orange-brown color.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
date made
ca 1680
overall: 23 3/4 in x 8 in x 3 1/4 in; 60.325 cm x 20.32 cm x 8.255 cm
place made
United Kingdom: England
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Music & Musical Instruments
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of Joya B. Cox

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