Copy of a Pressenda Violin, Czechoslovakia circa 1920’s – SOLD SEPTEMBER 26, 2023 –


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Joannes Franciscus Pressenda q Raphael
fecit Taurini anno Domini 1840

We have a Czech violin copy with a Pressenda label. Giovanni Francesco Pressenda (1777-1854), who labeled his instruments Joannes Franciscus Pressenda, made instruments in Turin, Italy and was regarded as master maker, and certainly considered the very best of the Turin School. This famous maker studied in Cremona with Lorenzo Storioni where he gained tons of experience and became a good steward of his natural skills and developed them even beyond those of his teacher. Our violin has no resemblance to the instruments of this famed maker from the 19th century, just a maker’s enthusiasm and a way to market his violin in the economics of 1920’s Czechoslovakia. A sort of branding to sell a commodity. For centuries, the Italian violin making tradition was very prominent and makers copied and used the Italian and French names to help make their instruments more saleable.
Still, the best Czechoslovakian craftsman tradition trade work is evident in this instrument. The top plate is made of medium-width grain spruce and the two-piece maple back has a mild grain and is highly flamed. The model is grand, the scroll is carved well, and there is a slight fluting in the sound holes. The violin has a finely crafted neck graft that helps set this instrument on a higher plane. I believe the graft was done when the instrument was made. It is interesting to see a graft on a violin made in the 1920’s. The graft was made by a highly gifted maker as this type of restoration is only done to an instrument that merits such work. The attractive oil varnish is transparent and is of an orange/brown color richly applied all over a golden amber ground. The varnish shows simulated wear and an aggressive antiqued look. We have done realigning, and touching up restorative work to the ribs, cleated one top area split on the treble side adjacent to the tail piece, and bushed four of the peg holes. The violin has a new set of pegs, cambered fingerboard, reworked nut, new bridge, post, and we completed the set up with a German Wittner tailpiece and ebony chin rest. This Czech violin is especially attractive and full of character.

• Corpus 360.5 mm.
• Major Width 206.0 mm.
• Minor Width 169.0 mm.
• Rib Height 30.5 mm.

Thinking about a more expensive violin? A player should really give this instrument a try. The longer body of the violin adds to the power and drive of the sound. The sound is responsive, and the instrument does not hold back. The bottom end is full of harmonic overtones that ring, and the G and D strings respond quickly even up in higher positions. The treble strings come off with just as much power and add a great amount of brilliance and colorful overtones to the violin. The violin’s resonant lower strings combined with a brilliant and equally powerful treble side make this violin stand out in this price range. It has a good mix of age, intrigue in its look, depth of sound, and speaks very well.