A Historical French Violin by Grandgerard, 1779.
This historical 18th century French violin crafted in 1779 by Jean Baptiste Grand Gerard represents his early oeuvre (fl. 1775 - 1820) and demonstrates several stylistic characteristics for which his work is easily recognized. Most notably, the broad pattern with f-holes that are at once both upright and set wide apart in the table, open through their length, with small eyes and a distinctive flair to the wings, the lines of which readily trace into the points of the corners in an unexpected but nonetheless pleasing symmetry. The scroll too is quite distinct, evoking a long, lifted quality into which the volutes delicately resolve in turn. Though idiosyncratic and altogether quite different from what we are accustomed to seeing from more modern violins, the precision of these details are a hallmark of mastery I would hate to argue against. And like many other early French makers who achieved international recognition, Grand Gerard was later used as a trade name by Jerome Thibouville Lamy, with most copies dating to the last quarter of the 19th century and exhibiting rather simple, if not unfortunate construction. Thankfully, these have very little to do with the recognized output of Grand Gerard, which is is delightfully characterful and quite under rated. This violin presents in well preserved condition for its 243 years and hosts a voice that is colorfully nuanced, well seasoned with clear overtones, immediate and open, with flexibility and a subtle velvety quality.