A Fine Violin by Georg Adam Krausch- Geigen und Lautenmacher in Wien 1808



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Georg Adam Krausch
Geigen und Lautenmacher – (decorative border)
in Wien 1808

The city of Vienna was the site of many battles, a major siege in 1529, and the Great Plague which killed nearly one third of its population. In 1804, during the Napoleonic wars, Vienna became Napoleon’s capital city of the Austrian Empire and remained the capital of what became the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The city functioned as a center of classical music and culture for centuries. It was the home of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and so many more. Georg Adam Krausch is making violins in Wein/Vienna from 1802-1827; later he moved to Moravia. I have had this violin in my collection to restore for a long time. The violin was listed in a Lyon & Healy Chicago instrument printed catalogue. The company started in 1864 and by 1889 Lyon & Healy was known all over the world as restorers and makers of harps. They also had much to do with pianos, especially developing the upright, and moved into fine strings instruments in the late 1890’s. For a 45-50 year span the firm also carried fine violins that celebrated violinists from all over the world came to purchase. Our Georg Adam Krausch, Vienna 1808 violin is listed in one of their printed sales catalogues somewhere between 1900-1920. The violin has the numbers 10 & 37 branded on the bottom rib just below the saddle and the L & H Catalogue number 4883 inside back of the violin, visible through the treble side f hole. The listing reads:

“George Adam Krausch, Vienna, 1808. Good, flat model. Fine even-grained top. Two piece curly maple back. Golden-brown varnish. Sweet tone.
No. 4883. W-31 $400.”

A violin listed in a printed Lyon & Healy Catalogue meant that it was a fine violin. It was a company’s website to the world back in the early 1900’s. To find it listed there is so cool. We are still currently trying the research and track down the exact date of the catalogue with the Library of Congress and Smithsonian Musical Archives.

We restore them like you play them, with our hands. This violin is so nice that here in the shop we spent a ton of time on the instrument. We checked the bones of the instrument inside, bushed all eight peg holes, completed a neck graft (the body and scroll are original), edge work on the top plate, new fingerboard, nut, set of pegs, bridge, soundpost, tailpiece, and chin rest. The oil varnish is a golden/brown on a golden base ground. The varnish and instrument have natural wear and beautiful patina. The arching is what I would call medium in height and steadily rising starting a few millimeters from the purfling. The pearwood center of the three layers of purfling is unique in that it is 2.1 mm in width surrounded by 1.0 mm of ebony. The spruce top plate is two-piece fine straight grain, and the back is two-piece maple of medium curl and with a very slight descent, if any, from the center seam. The scroll is awesome. A wow! in my book. It is handsomely carved and shows two centuries of authentic wear from being handled and moved in and out of a case. This is a gem of an instrument made by a fine maker. The violin is in beautiful condition, light in weight, handles so well, and that’s just the start. The violin is ready for another 100 plus years of playing.

Corpus 359.0 mm. Major Width 204.0 mm. Minor Width 166.0 mm. Rib Height 29.0 mm.

The sound quality of the violin is clear with a mellowness of warmth with depth. It does not hold back in the volume area of the spectrum. The instrument speaks well, resonates better than well, and is mature in tonal color. The sound could also be described as robust. The violin leans to darker side, not too bright at all. The treble strings sing out and speak with the same clarity. The violin just needs to get played for a while. It has been in my collection waiting completion for at least 40 years. A player will feel the violin pumping and vibrating next to them. This instrument will take the next player to another level. It has maturity, depth of sound, warmth, and clarity wrapped together. It is a well preserved fine violin by a famous Viennese maker. I’m hoping it is around the showroom for a time so I get to enjoy it too.