An American Violin By Boston Maker, C.A. Morrill, 1928.
This American violin after Stradivari was made in Boston by C.A. Morrill in 1928 and arrived at Cohen Violins by way of private collection, where it had remained since it was inherited in 2011. Previously, the violin had been owned by fiddler, Johnny Violin, who was renowned to have performed with the Rat Pack and for six presidents; Johnny used this Morrill violin as one of his mainstays until a shipping accident off the coast of Greece in 1957. Johnny purchased several violins in Italy while performing for the then Vice President Richard Nixon who was on the tail end of his ‘African Tour’ and elected to send them back by way of sea. Unfortunately, the shipping vessel was blown aground by a summer storm, and his trunk full of instruments and personal effects was found floating below deck the following day, with this violin and the others bobbing along inside it. A few were entirely compromised and though previous restoration efforts had mitigated some of the salt water damage, this violin has remained in pieces, unplayable since, until now.
This Morrill violin has just emerged from restoration in our workshop; the interior work is delicate, precise and aesthetically pleasing, with all six original blocks from beech and matching material for the ‘white’ of the purfling. Though there were no cracks to the center of the table, the visible damages were properly aligned, closed, and cleated to the highest standard. Other repairs include a repaired split in the rib of the bass C-bout and cheek grafts to both sides of the scroll (a repair completed years ago, which felt intrusive to redress.) across the “A” and “D” pegs. The fingerboard and upper saddle have been replaced, fitted, and dressed, with the neck reset to a finial projection of 27mm for ample power and clarity. Most of the original varnish has been saved, restored and touched up where necessary, with only minute traces of its storied trauma still visible. It boasts admirable choices for materials and craftsmanship, brought to life with a new setup, including rosewood fittings with bone trim, a decorative ebony chinrest to celebrate its rebirth, high quality custom fit bridge, fresh soundpost, etc., complete with Vision Solo strings and a Goldbrokat ‘E.’
It’s sound is supple, sweet, and rich in timbre, with crisp response and ample bite to sharper bow strokes, evoking a powerful lyric quality befitting an accomplished performer. It has been priced to reflect its history of repairs; an opportunity to own a fine violin with a remarkable story at a discounted rate. Compare at $15,000.