Skinner Inc.

Auctioneers and Appraisers

Tag Archives: violin making

The Story of Dom Nicolaus Amati

Dom Nicolaus Amati: a fine and unique violin maker, to be sure. But was he an Amati? No. Who was he really then, and why the Amati name?

Dom Nicolaus Amati is none other than Nicola Marchioni, born in 1662 in Bologna. He entered the priesthood in 1687 and was also a violin maker, though historians don’t know who trained him. He pursued these two careers simultaneously.

It has been said that Marchioni took the Amati name for his craft because of its fine reputation.… Read More

Meet the Experts: Horst Kloss, Master Luthier and Fine Musical Instruments Specialist

Expert appraisers work together at Skinner auction house to find, appraise, and research rare, beautiful, and historically important items. In the Meet the Experts blog series, we meet some of these experts and learn the stories behind their success.

How did you first become interested in musical instruments?

I was fortunate to grow up in the culturally rich environment of Mittenwald, Germany. The name of the town translates to “in the middle of the forest” and indeed, forests of spruce and maple surround the area and help support a tradition of violin-making that goes back to the 16th and 17th centuries.… Read More

The Piedmont School of Violin-Making

From the Guadagninis to Pressenda and Rocca

When you think of Piedmont, Italy the first thing that comes to mind is most likely wine. Yes, Piedmont is a wine region, but it was also home to an important tradition of violin-making. The Piedmont school can be divided into three distinct periods, beginning in 1630 with the most important maker of his time: Chioffredo Cappa.

The Guadagnini family dominates the second period. Giovanni Battista Guadagnini arrived in the region in 1771 and introduced violin-making in the Lombard manner.… Read More

The Story of a Fine Pressenda Violin

Giovanni Francesco Pressenda was perhaps the most important Italian violin maker of the 19th century and certainly is considered among the very best of the Turin school. He entered the field shortly after the Guadagnini family brought violin making to the very highest level, and picked up a thorough understanding of this knowledge.

After apprenticeships with several French violin makers, including Leté-Pillement, he established his own firm in Turin in 1820, the same year that this instrument was made.… Read More

Dall’ Aglio and the Mantua School of Fine Violins

Between the old Mantua school, represented by Peter Guarneri, Camillo Camilli, and Tomasso Balestrieri, and the new Mantua school represented by Stefano Scarampella, the only notable maker working in Mantua in the early 19th century seems to be Giuseppe Dall’ Aglio.