This violin was made in Mirecourt, France around 1880. An oversized commercial Mirecourt violin (with 14 3/8 inch body length), this violin is listed in J. Howard Foote’s 1882 catalog under French copies of old masters. It is item #5935: “Copy of Stradivarius, extra fine quality, . . . Each $22.00.” Many violins like this were made in Mirecourt. While thousands of these violins were sold with reproduction labels of famous makers like Amati, Guarneri, Stainer and Stradivari, this instrument is clearly labeled to prevent misunderstanding of the Stradivari attribution. A second Smithsonian example is catalog #55682, described in the Foote catalog as the same quality of instrument. It is built with similar archings, outline and pearwood purfling, but bears a reproduction Guarneri label. This violin is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple with medium-fine ascending figure, ribs, neck, pegbox and scroll of similar maple, and a shaded orange-brown varnish.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.