Christie's Ex-Spohr violin up 68.1% on estimate


Christie's sale of musical instruments saw a violin, known as the Ex-Spohr, up 68.1% on estimate, selling for £134,500 on April 26.


Stohr Violin Nicholas Lupot
The Nicholas Lupot Ex-Stohr Violin

The 1789 instrument is believed to have belonged to German violinist, composer and conductor Ludwig Spohr. He has been described as "The Forgotten Master" and was reportedly once as famous as Beethoven.

His compositions were favoured by Queen Victoria and were once considered on the same level as those of Mozart. His stunning career was put to an end when he broke his arm, leaving him unable to play the violin or conduct orchestras.

The violin in the auction was made by Nicholas Lupot, also known as "The French Stradivarius", who was one of the most prominent luthiers of his time. Lupot deliberately modelled his instruments after the legendary Italian luthier and was known for recreating the genius more accurately than anyone of the time.

Ludwig Spohr, who was struck by the violin's powerful tone, acquired the exquisite instrument in exchange for a GB Guadagnini. It remained his primary instrument for much of his career.

The top lot of the sale went to a 1690 Pietro Giovanni Guarneri violin said to be from the same tree as that used for a 1699 Antonio Stradivari. Analysis suggests that the treble side on the table of the Guarneri matches that of the bass side of the 1699 Stradivari.

The Mantua-produced violin sold for $302,500 against an estimate of $250,000-350,000. Paul Fraser Collectibles has a charming signed photograph of American composer George Gershwin, including handwritten musical notation.

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