- Viotti Stradivarius
The "Viotti; ex-Bruce Stradivarius" of 1709 is an
antique violinconstructed by luthier Antonio Stradivariof Cremona(1644-1737). It is one of only 700 known extant Stradivari instruments.
The violin receives its name from its first known owner, violinist
Giovanni Battista Viotti, who is said to have received it as a love token from Catherine the Great. Viotti is thought to have commissioned the construction of at least one replica of this violin. Subsequent owners include Mr. Menessier, 1824; Mr Brochant de Villiers; Mr Meunié, 1860; Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume; Pierre Silvestre, on behalf of William E. Hill & Sons, 1897; Baron Knoop, 1897; Mr R. C. Baker, 1905; Lewis Bruce; and John Bruce, after whom it is also named.
The "Viotti; ex-Bruce Stradivarius", considered in very good condition, and free of the wear and repairs evinced by many other instruments of the period, was last purchased by the
Royal Academy of Music, for GB£3.5 million in September 2005. Its provenancewas also a major factor in the violins' valuation. Funding was provided by HM Government in lieu of Inheritance Tax, and by the National Art Collections Fund, the National Heritage Memorial Fundand many private donors.
The instrument will be displayed in the York Gate Collections, the Academy's free museum and research centre. The "Viotti ex-Bruce" will be heard as well as seen: the instrument will be played sparingly, under very controlled circumstances, at research events and occasional performances elsewhere.Fact|date=August 2008
As one of the greatest virtuoso violinists of his day, Viotti was very influential in the field of instrumental technique. His advocacy of Stradivarius violins was also key to the recognition of their maker as the foremost of all luthiers.
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