Fine Musical Instruments Online
English Oak Double Violin Case for Caressa & Français, W.E. Hill & Sons, the plaques inscribed CARESSA & FRANÇAIS/LUTHIERS DU CONSERVATOIRE./12, RUE DE MADRID,/à PARIS., approximate length of back 360 mm, ht. 5 1/4, wd. 30 3/4, dp. 12 3/8 in.
Provenance: The collection of Dr. Glenn P. Wood; Lynn Armour Hannings.
N.B. "This case provides an interesting insight into the murky violin case business at the end of the 19th century. Although this case bears the name and address of Caressa & Français, Paris, it bears a strong similarity to Hill cases from their Hanwell workshop, c. 1890. Not only is the entire interior layout identical to some of those used by Hill, but the raised, box-like compartments are the same as those that appear in the double case they made for Jascha Heifetz, and which sold at auction in 2012 for $24,000.
Although W.E. Hill & Sons claimed they didn't make cases for competitors, the tags and the inks used bear a striking resemblance to those seen on Hill cases of the period.
It should be recalled that during that period there was a generous influx of skilled workers from Paris to London. Joseph Prunier, Joseph Maurice Somney, Leon-August Delunet and Charles François Langonet, the workshop foreman, were among those French imports who appeared in the Hill workshop from 1880 onwards. For this reason, the distinction between an English case and a French one at that time becomes blurred."
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