French Violin

French Violin

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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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
Place Made
France: Grand Est, Mirecourt
Physical Description
spruce (table material)
maple (back material)
overall: 23 3/4 in x 7 1/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 60.325 cm x 18.415 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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