A Rare Ruggieri Model Violin By Ernst Heinrich Roth I, 1924

There are few places in the world with a historic tradition of violin making as long and rich as the Saxon town of Markneukirchen, stretching back to the mid 17th century and to the formation of the first associated guilds. In the same way that Chinese instruments have flooded the marketplace today and set a standard for entry level commercial instruments, 19th century making in Markneukirchen flourished and fueled the expansion of the classical music industry. By the end of the 19th century, Markneukirchen alone produced upwards of two hundred thousand violins for worldwide export annually, half of which were bound for the United States.

Ernst Heinrich Roth I (1877-1948) was well versed as a musician and studied under several violin makers across Europe, including his father, Gustav Robert Roth, who established the family workshop in 1873. In 1902 at the age of 25 he started his own firm with his cousin, Gustav August Ficker and was producing 13 grades of violins just two decades later. Roth spent a year in Cremona in 1920, ushering in a new era of refinement in not only his personal production, but that of the shop, a period which extended until 1933 when political tensions and conscriptions divided his shop. The shop would close as a result of WWII and relocate to Bubenruth, resuming production in 1954. The instruments from 1921 through 1932 are considered the most desirable but it is widely accepted that the higher end productions from the firm prior to that were made entirely by his hand alone.

This rare V-R model is ppatterned after a Francesco Ruggieri violin from 1685 and was meticulously crafted by EHR in 1924, during his “Golden Period.” It is a highly characteristic example of his work presenting in well preserved condition, less some crazing the to the beautifully shaded and highly translucent varnish with light, tasteful notes of antiquing. It features a one piece back measuring 355mm in length of tight irregular grain, with matching wood selection for the ribs, a beautifully flamed headstock, and tight, even grained spruce. It’s voice is remarkably lyrical, described as astoundingly close in timbre to the human voice and is offered with the highest recommendations as a player, collector, and purveyor of stringed instruments.

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