A superb violin by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume Paris, 1826
No. 41

J. B. Vuillaume made over 3,000 instruments and this beautiful violin was his forty first, showing his unmistakable personal touch. This early example from the French master has everything you’d expect and want from a J. B. Vuillaume: a strong projection, evenly balanced throughout, and highly responsive. It’s easy to play, easy on the eyes, easy on the ears, and easy to fall in love with.

J. B. Vuillaume was as talented and innovative of a craftsman as he was savvy as a businessman. He became one of the most important makers and restorers of his generation, and he also just happened to make one of the greatest violin deals of all time. In 1855, he purchased a sizable collection of instruments from the heirs of Luigi Tarisio. The collection of 144 fine Italian instruments included 25 Stradivaris! The crown jewel of the collection was none other than the ‘Messiah’ Stradivari of 1716, one of the most valuable Stradivaris and, therefore, one of the most valuable instruments in the world. The entire collection went to Vuillaume for the *whopping* sum of $80,000 francs.


Photo: Matthew Tolzmann