This 3/4-size Violoncello was made by Abraham Prescott in Concord, New Hampshire, around 1820-1840.
Abraham Prescott (1789-1858) was one of the most prolific of the bass viol makers. A self-taught instrument maker, he began his craft in Deerfield, New Hampshire, in 1809 and moved his business to Concord in 1831, where he continued to make violoncellos, bass viols, and double basses (and later reed organs and pianos) until about 1850. Prescott instruments are often fitted with machine-head tuning gears instead of more usual pegs.
This case was made by an unknown maker, provenance unknown, 20th century. It is a violoncello case made of leatherette covered fibreboard case, metal fittings, and green plush lining. Accessioned with violoncello 2008.3008.02
This violoncello was made by an unknown maker in Mirecourt, France, around 1875-1899. It is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple with irregular, fine horizontal figure, ribs of plain maple; neck, pegbox and scroll of plain maple, stained reddish-brown varnish.
This is a typical unsigned Mirecourt commercial instrument bearing two scribed lines in representation of purfling on table and back.
This violoncello was made by made by George Jewett in Lebanon, Maine, between 1794-1795. It is a folk cello made of a two-piece table of slab-cut white pine, two-piece back of similar pine with paper glued along the center joint, ribs of laminated paper inlaid into the table and back; plain maple neck, pegbox and carved painted female head, and a forged 3-prong iron end-pin. This instrument has a carved inscription on the tailpiece:
J Jewett Fecit
(and an additional carved inscription within the “heart”
ornament of the tailpiece):
(and a further ink inscription on the tailpiece back):
George Jewett AD 1795
An example of 18th-century folk craft, this cello was a labor of love. It was constructed of local materials and bears a charming naive carved and painted female head. The belly and back are made from white pine, the ribs are of laminated paper. The charming carved and painted head replaces the more usual scroll.
This violoncello was made by Sergio Peresson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1971. There is an original label inside the instrument:
Philadelphia 1971 Sergio Peresson
Sergio Peresson (1913–1991) was an Italian-American violin maker. Born in Udine, Peresson began making violins in Italy in 1943. Four years later, Peresson moved to Caracas, Venezuela, where he made new instruments and was repairer to the Venezuelan Symphony Orchestra. In the early 1960s he moved to Philadelphia and worked for the firm of William Moennig & Son from 1963-1971. In 1971 Peresson moved to the suburb of Haddenfield, New Jersey and continued to make instruments until his death in 1991.
This violoncello was made by Charles and Samuel Thompson in London, about 1780. It is a ¼ size violoncello, made of a table of pine slab cut on the bass side, joined to quarter-cut pine on the treble. The interior has square linings and ribs finished with a toothed plane. The lower bout ribs are joined at the bottom block with notches at the top and bottom of the joint for centering of the model . There is an original printed label inside the instrument:
CHA: & SAM THOMPSON, in St. Paul’s Church Yard L O N D O N
The brothers Charles and Samuel Thompson were the successors of their father, Robert, who worked in St. Paul’s Church Yard around 1740-1769. The brothers continued the business (ca. 1770-1790), making and selling instruments of commercial quality made from common wood, with painted ink purfling and dark reddish-brown opaque varnish.
This case was made ny an unknown maker, provenance unknown, 20th century. It is a violoncello case made of wood covered in black-dyed leather, with metal fittings, and a blue plush interior. Accessioned with violioncello (Cat. #1979.0172.03)
This violoncello was made by Nicolò Amati in Cremona, Italy, 1677. It is the Herbert violoncello with a two-piece spruce top of medium to wide grained with wings to the flanks, two-piece back of quarter sawn poplar, ribs of maple cut on the slab, and scroll (probably by a later hand) of maple cut on the quarter. The golden-brown is applied over a golden ground. There is an original printed label inside the instrument:
Nicolaus Amatus Cremonen. Hieronymi Fil. ac Antonij Nepos Fecit. 1677
[“77” is handwritten]
Beginning in the late 19th century, this violoncello was owned for some fifty years by Mr. George Herbert, an amateur musician of London, and today bears his name to help trace its history. It was acquired by the violin dealer Emil Herrmann who assembled a quartet of Amati instruments (the 1656 King Louis XIV and the 1672 Florian Zajic violins, the 1663 Professor Wirth viola, and the 1677 Herbert violoncello) for Mrs. Anna E. Clark. She lent them to the Loewenguth Quartet of Brussels before bequeathing the quartet to the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The Corcoran loaned the quartet to the Claremont String Quartet of the North Carolina School of the Arts, and in 1975, to the Tokyo String Quartet, and then to the Takács Quartet before selling them to Dr. Herbert Axelrod in 1998.
This violoncello was made Luigi Rovatti in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1915. It is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two-piece back of maple with even fine descending figure, ribs of similar maple, mildly figured maple neck, pegbox and scroll; golden orange-brown varnish. The instrument has an original printed and handwritten label:
Luigi Rovattia Ennio Bolognini fece in Buenos-Ayres anno 1915 Calle Amambar. p. 232
(and a handwritten inscription):
Te Niglior Violoncello del mondo. Il mio padrone e Ennio Bolognini. Cuando Studia e mi suona bene
[”Best Violoncello of the world for my friend Ennio Bolognini.
When (one) studies, I sound good.”]
This instrument was made expressly for the cellist Ennio Bolognini (b. November 7, 1893, Buenos Aires; d. July 31, 1979, Las Vegas). Bolognini was raised in a musical family and subsequently received his early training under José García, teacher of Pablo Casals, at the St. Cecilia Conservatory in Buenos Aires. His talent attracted the attention and friendship of highly regarded musicians such as Jasha Heifetz, Valdimir Horowitz, Victor Herbert and Maurice Ravel. During his years in Buenos Aires he shared an apartment with Arthur Rubenstein and Andrés Segovia. Ennio's father was a close friend of Arturo Toscanini, who became Ennio's godfather.
Ennio Bolognini became an American citizen in 1929 and pursued a career with symphony orchestras in Philadelphia, Chicago, Hollywood and Las Vegas. In addition to his remarkable talent as a cellist, he was a conductor and composer, writing six pieces in the style of flamenco guitar for the exclusive performance use of the American cellist, Christine Walewska. Beyond his musical accomplishments Bolognini was a South American boxing champion and licensed airplane pilot, and he is remembered by many colleagues for his unpredictable behavior both inside and outside the concert hall.
Ennio Bolognini collected autographs of prominent 20th century musicians, composers, conductors, actors and sports figures. They are written in ink on the table and ribs of this cello.
Among the most easily legible signatures are on the left (bass) side of the instrument. Signatures on the upper bass side of the cello include:
Remo Bolognini (1929-1973), violinist, brother of Ennio Bolognini
Fritz Kreisler (1875-1962), Austrian-American violinist and composer
Dmitri Mitropoulos (1896-1960), Greek-American pianist and conductor who led the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1937-1949) and the New York Philharmonic (1951-7)
Andrés Segovia (1893-1987), father of the modern classical guitar movement
Joseph Szigeti (1892-1973), Hungarian-American violinist
José Ferrer (1912-1992), the first Latino (Puerto Rican) actor to win an Academy Award
Bruno Walter (1876-1962), German-born conductor of many famous American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Columbia Symphony Orchestra
Richard Crooks (1900-1972) American tenor, a leading singer at the New York Metropolitan Opera G[iovanni] Martinelli, (1885-1969), Italian-American tenor, also a leading singer at the New York Metropolitan Opera
János Starker (b. 1924), Hungarian-American cellist and teacher
Eugene Ormandy (1899-1985), Hungarian-American violinist and conductor who led the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (1931-1936), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (1936-1980)
Richard Tucker (1913-1975), a leading American operatic tenor of the post-war era
Stephen Kates (1944-2003), American cellist, and the last person to sign Bolognini’s cello
This case was made by an unknown maker, undetermined provenance, 19th century. It is a cello case made of. black-stained wood, brass fittings, and green plush interior. Accessioned with cello (Cat. #1987.0472.05).
This violoncello was made by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris, France, in 1862. It is cello, Vuillaume #2425, with a one-piece table of spruce with medium grain, one-piece back of half slab cut maple with irregular grain and irregular flame descending from treble to bass, ribs are of similar wood, and the head is of maple with regular grain, and golden brown varnish over a golden ground. There is an original label inside the instrument:
Jean Baptiste Vuillaume a Paris 3, rue Demours-Ternes
The French violin maker and dealer Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875) dominated the violin trade in the middle of the 19th century. Born in Mirecourt, a small town in the Vosges famous for its production of lace and violins, he established his workshops in Paris where his marketing genius flourished. In the traditions of the Amatis, Vuillaume was an innovator, making major contributions in bowmaking, mass-marketing, and dealing in old instruments. In addition to his Octobasse, a giant double bass, he created a specially shaped contralto viola, an automatic violin mute, and machines and clever gadgets to apply to his work. He gained great skills in imitating fine old Italian violins, and as he engaged a large number of assistants, his new instruments could be offered through volume sales. As the Vuillaume imitations became more accurate and impressive, he became the leading shop in Paris, and the first violin shop in Europe to be conducting business in every country.
His instruments are true copies rather than fakes, and all bear Vuillaume's own label. This is remarkable in that there were over 2000 of the best quality instruments, all supervised and varnished by Jean-Baptiste himself.
Vuillaume's influence on violin and bow makers was felt all across France. His astute business sense in appealing to a new democratic marketplace of both exclusive buyers and mass consumers is felt in the violin trade today. J.B. Vuillaume's mastery of the Cremonese traditions, combined with sustaining the mystique of the violin, guaranteed the production of immensely successful instruments and his legendary reputation as a dealer in fine old instruments.
This violoncello was made by John Preston in London, about 1780. It is made of a two-piece table of spruce, two piece back of maple with even fine descending figure, ribs of similar maple, neck, pegbox and scroll of late replacement, and varnish of transparent brown color. There is a printed label inside the instrument:
Preston MAKER No 97 Strand L O N D O N
John Preston began working in London around 1744 in Long Acre as a maker of violins and guitars. After 1776 he was established at the Strand, where he remained until his death in January of 1798. In 1789, his son Thomas entered the business and developed the firm as music publishers as well as violin makers and dealers. Preston and Son published music of many types including dance, operetta and popular song. In 1834 the firm passed to control of Coventry & Hollier and continue today under the name Novello & Company. It was probably the publishing interest that prevented John Preston from developing a strong reputation and output as a maker. His instruments might be considered today as good to fair in commercial quality. In this example with typically pointed arching and high ribs,1 the neck, pegbox and scroll are a later Bohemian or German replacement. The body bears an even single purfling.