A Fine French Violin By Didier Nicolas D’Aine, 1810
This fine French violin was meticulously crafted at the beginning of the 19th century by renowned Mirecourt master, Didier Nicolas L’Aine at the height of his craft. This Nicolas violin dates to approximately 1810 and bears his traditional triangular brand stamp to the belly: an immediately recognizable feature that saw use long after Nicolas’ death in 1833; first, in homage from Justin Derazey, who copied the model, and later still in the workshops of Mougenot and Laberte, circa 1900-1910.
Despite a back length of 362mm (longer proportions are quite common from the French school and typical of the era), there is a more petite, refined quality to the craftsmanship and stylization of its features that lend an air of elegance which shouldn’t be understated - execution in every detail. This instrument is a particularly well preserved example from this maker’s most highly regarded period, exhibiting only an attractive cracqueleur and modest patination from its 210 years traveling in the hands of generations of loving musicians.
The finely tuned setup includes a personally fitted old stock 3-tree Despiau bridge, rosewood pegs in good working order but of considerable age, matching old stock rosewood chinrest and button, and a 109mm pernambuco tailpiece, with titanium tuner and tailgut; finished with a fresh set of Evah Pirazzi strings, the final result delivers a flexible sound that is every bit as rich and nuanced as this violin’s facade, with a soulful, vocal quality. Crisp response, with enough resistance to growl on the G string if one wished, but without ever evoking such a thing unintentionally. Capable of delivering sustained brilliance and relaxing into a more sultry timbre after a sharp attack and seamless, effortlessly natural character changes.
Quite probably the best example of this maker’s work I have encountered.