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Violin

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1685 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Agutter, Ralph (attributed to, maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved, sawn and planed sycamore and pine

  • Museum number:

    34-1869

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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This violin would have been made for the Royal Household either late in the reign of Charles II (r. 1660-1685) or during the reign of James II (r. 1685-1688). The ornate carving on the back would have been highly fashionable at about this time, and it includes the Royal Stuart coat of arms before the royal arms were modified at the time of the accession of William III and Queen Mary in 1688.

This instrument has recently been attributed to Ralph Agutter, a London maker, who was active at this time. The neck and pegbox are very similar to those belonging to two Agutter violins in private collections, one of which is also carved on the back.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)

Date

ca. 1685 (made)

Artist/maker

Agutter, Ralph (attributed to, maker)

Materials and Techniques

Carved, sawn and planed sycamore and pine

Marks and inscriptions

[partly legible) HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE "Cursed be he thinks ill about it"
Partly legible: "MON DIEU ET MON DROIT" My God and my Right

Dimensions

Length: 58.5 cm total, Length: 34.5 cm body, Depth: 3.8 cm maximum, Width: 20.5 cm maximum

Descriptive line

Violin, carved sycamore back, attributed to Ralph Agutter, English, 1680-85

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

John Dilworth: "Early English sophistication", The Strad , Vol. 110, No. 1307 (March 1999), pp. 264 - 271.
London, Victoria & Albert Museum: Catalogue of Musical Instruments in the Victoria & Albert Museum. Part II, Anthony Baines: Non-keyboard instruments (London, 1998), p 16

Exhibition History

Secrets of the Royal Bedchamber (Hampton Court Palace 27 March 2013-3 Nov 2013)
The Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames (National Maritime Museum 27/04/2012-09/09/2012)

Labels and date

VIOLIN
English; about 1680
Pine top and sides, sycamore back. Decorated with spiral scroll work and the royal arms of the Stuarts. The finial is in the form of a woman's head.
Non-Keyboard Catalogue No.: 3/2
The instrument is not signed but a number of names have been suggested, the most likely being Thomas Urquhart, who worked at London Bridge between 1648 and 1680. The baroque style of decoration and Royal Stuart arms would indicate that the instrument was part of the household of Charles II or James II. Charles II is known to have preferred the "brisk and arie" sounds of the violin to the "contrapuntal fancies" of the viol.

34-1869 [pre September 2000]

Production Note

This instrument has recently been attributed to Ralph Agutter, a London maker, who was active during the 1680s. The neck and pegbox of this instrument are very similar to two Agutter violins in private collections, one of which has an ornately carved back.

Materials

Pine; Sycamore

Techniques

Carving; Planing; Sawing

Subjects depicted

Putti; Maiden's head; Royal Coat of Arms

Categories

Musical instruments

Production Type

Unique

Collection code

FWK

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Qr_O58890
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