German Violoncello

German Violoncello

<< >>
Usage conditions apply

This violoncello, was made in Schönbach, Germany, around 1880. It is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple with fine, irregular horizontal figure, ribs of similar maple, neck, pegbox and scroll of plain maple with brass machine tuning mechanism, and an opaque orange-brown varnish.

On page 54 of the 1882 J. Howard Foote musical instrument catalog is the heading: “VIOLONCELLOS, or Bass Viols... German manufacture, with patent heads: No. 6013 Best quality very fine model, excellent in every respect, brass patent head... $24.00 each.”

To give a sense of the Foote sales of bowed string instruments, there are 13 categories of cellos in grades from $10.80 to $55.00 each, while in the larger violin group, 74 grades are listed from $16.00 per dozen to $210.00 for a “Perfect copy of Stradivarius.” Only four viola grades are described under the heading: “VIOLAS. Or Tenor Viols, also called Altos by the French,” from $4.80 to $15.00 each.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Date made
place made
Physical Description
spruce (overall material)
maple (overall material)
overall: 9 1/2 in x 17 1/4 in x 49 in; 24.13 cm x 43.815 cm x 124.46 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of J. Howard Foote
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Musical Instruments
Music & Musical Instruments
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

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.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.