A Rare, Fine Italian Violin By Nicolo Bianchi, 1835.
Nicolò Bianchi (1803-1881) was an important violin maker born in a small village called Albissola on the Western Riviera, not far from Genoa. He is credited with heralding the revival of Genoese violin making, both mentoring and inspiring artisans we have since come to celebrate, revere, and otherwise recognize as giants. His notable pupils include Giuseppe Scarampella, Eugenio Praga, Antoniazzi, and Francis Bovis.
He is also commonly associated with Guadagnini, Pressenda, and Ceruti in Turin, but his apprenticeship began in his early twenties under the tutorage of Agostino DePlanis in Genoa. He began traveling as early as 1840, working mostly in restoration across much of France, Spain, and Portugal before establishing himself in Paris at Rue Neuve des Petite Champs in 1846, quite close to the Vuillaume atelier. He remained in France for more than 20 years before returning to Genoa in 1868. He left his workshop to Praga in 1877, and bequeathed his belongings to Francis Bovis upon his death in Nice just three years later.
Though he made a number of ‘contemporary’ instruments, Bianchi was one of the few italian makers of the 19th century to make antiqued instruments and is regarded as a talented copyist. However, Bianchi is perhaps best associated as Ludovico Rastelli’s most important pupil, who’s influence abounds, written in the characteristic workmanship of this rare early Bianchi violin from 1835. Despite having a facsimile label of Guadagnini, it was previously speculated to possibly be a Storioni. This exceptional violin was definitively identified and certified by Christopher Reuning and is offered with the document.
This example boasts a table of even grained spruce of medium width and matching selections of quarter sawn maple for the ribs and scroll, with a two-piece slab cut back which measures 362mm in length. subtle flaming with an irregular wave serves to elevate the aesthetic, highlighted by the rich, lustrous oil varnish over a darker golden ground. The scroll, with somewhat softer lines and a longer, elevated appearance. Presenting in excitingly well preserved condition with consistent patination throughout. A consummate collector’s piece boasting enviable performance.