Stradivari Violin, the "Ole Bull"

Stradivari Violin, the "Ole Bull"

Description (Brief)
This violin was made by Antonio Stradivari in Cremona, Italy in 1687. This violin is named after its 19th century owner, Ole Bull (1810-1880), a celebrated violinist and seminal figure in Norwegian music. The violin is made of a one-piece table of spruce with even medium fine grain broadening toward the treble side, one-piece back of maple with a beautiful broad descending figure slanting from treble to bass side, ribs of similar maple, with a modern maple neck terminating in the original pegbox and scroll of similar maple, and a golden brown varnish.
Date made
1687
maker
Stradivari, Antonio
Place Made
Italia: Lombardia, Cremona
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
Measurements
overall: 23 5/8 in x 8 1/4 in x 3 7/8 in; 60.0075 cm x 20.955 cm x 9.8425 cm
ID Number
2000.0013.02
accession number
2000.0013
catalog number
2000.0013.02
Credit Line
Gift of Evelyn and Herbert R. Axelrod
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Violins
Exhibition
Exhibit:
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History

Comments

I have an ole-bull violin that belonged to grandma who passed away in the 1950s at age 99. on the base of the neck it is indicated "germany" that does not make a lot of sense to me. can anyone give me any info on this type violin, age, etc.
If the internal label is intact that will tell you a lot. Even if it appears plain a person specializing in books and printing could tell you how old the paper label is or narrow the years by the ink or inking style. You also mentioned it was stamped, the kind of stamping technique can have indications of age. For instance, if it was hot stamped you might be able to tell if the stamp was handmade by perhaps the letters not being perfectly level. Your best bet would be to bring it to a luthier for a tune-up and ask if they can inspect and make notes about construction, wood types, and any miscellaneous notes. (Also you might want this insured so ask for an appraisal too.) I would also inspect your family photos, your Grandmother was probably very proud of this violin and may have it in a photo or two. Another method is if you know when she started playing, for instance age 6, she wouldn't have started with a full-size violin and you might be able to estimate the age she would have bought a full-size violin.
Many many violins have a Stradivarius label in them, but that doesn't make them Strads. There's an article here about it: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/violins/stradivarius If yours has a "Germany" stamp on the back, then it is certainly not a Stradivarius. I think those stamps were only applied to instruments after 1910 or 1920? It will still be worth something, but not the millions that a true Strad would fetch :)
I heard that Stradivarius instruments need to be played every so often. Dowe anyone play these?
Yes, the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society was created to feature our collection of historic instruments and bring them to life. For more information see http://www.smithsonianchambermusic.org/about.
"I have an 'OLE BULL' violin, is asmuch as his name is stamped on the back of the fiddle, below the heel. Inside the name Antoio Stradivarius on a paper label. Of course... that this is Not a Strad, and OLE BULL never saw or played this violin, but it sounds lovely and rich. The important thing for me about this OLE BULL fiddle, is that it was my introduction to OLE BULL, his life and his music. Watch the OLe BULL documentary on youtube!"

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