Viola da braccia Form (composite)

Viola da braccia Form (composite)

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Description (Brief)

This viola da braccia form was made by an unknown maker, provenance unknown, probably 19th century. It is a composite instrument made of a one-piece table of spruce, one-piece back of spruce of similar irregular grain, ribs of unfigured walnut, stained (black) neck is terminated in a violin pegbox with provision for five pegs and a crude closed scroll with two volutes, and opaque reddish-brown varnish.

This object is composed of unrelated fragments and does not appear to have ever functioned as a musical instrument in this form. The body in viol shape with arched table and back bears crude “flame” soundholes and an ornamental rose. The unusually long neck is terminated in a pegbox with provision for five pegs and a closed scroll with two volutes. Acquired from the collection of Leopoldo Franciolini in 1892.

Leopoldo Franciolini (1844–1920) was an Italian antique dealer who flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is remembered as a fraudster who sold faked and altered historical musical instruments.

Currently not on view
Object Name
Viola Da Braccia Form
date made
19th century
Physical Description
spruce (overall material)
walnut (overall material)
overall: 27 in x 8 3/4 in x 3 1/2 in; 68.58 cm x 22.225 cm x 8.89 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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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