Instruments Owned by Nippon Music Foundation

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Stradivarius 1700 Violin


  • “Dragonetti”
  • “Dragonetti”
  • “Dragonetti”


The name of this violin was taken from Domenico Dragonetti (1763-1846), a distinguished Italian virtuoso double bass player, who kept it with great care. It was brought from Italy to England by the English dealer John Betts, and in 1818, it was passed to Mr. F. V. Rivas, a well-known amateur player in England of his time, who also owned other fine instruments. In 1835, it passed into the hands of Mr. F. de Rougemont, and was subsequently bought by the novelist Charles Reade, a keen violin collector. In 1852, it was sold by Mr. Alvey Turner of Cheapside to Mr. Bashall and it remained in his family until it was purchased by W. E. Hill & Sons of England in 1910. In 1912, it passed into the hands of Mr. Richard Bennett, who possessed the most famous collection of Italian instruments of the 20th century. In 1926, he disposed of his entire collection to W. E. Hill & Sons. In 1958, it was exhibited at the Exhibition of Antique Art Treasures held in Bath, England, representing the instruments owned by W. E. Hill & Sons. In 1963, it passed into the hands of violinist Alfredo Campoli (1906-1991), and then to Mr. Olivier Jacques in 1988. It was subsequently possessed by Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale (WestLB), which loaned the instrument to celebrated violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann. Nippon Music Foundation acquired this instrument from WestLB in June 2002.


The back is in one piece of maple, marked by a handsome medium curl ascending to the right, that of the sides and scroll being similar. The table in two pieces of spruce is marked by very fine grain at the center, becoming more open towards the flanks. The neck is still original and has two black nail marks above the heel. In the Baroque period, necks were glued onto the ribs and held in place with metal nails for extra strength. The varnish is warm golden orange color.


Stradivarius 1700 Violin “Dragonetti”

June 20, 2002 John & Arthur Beare, to Nippon Music Foundation
June 23, 1988 John & Arthur Beare, to Olivier Jaques
April 30, 1963 W. E. Hill & Sons, to Alfredo Campoli


Stradivarius 1700 Violin “Dragonetti”

April 18, 2002 Andrew Hill, Report to Nippon Music Foundation
December 9, 1960 W. E. Hill & Sons, History Letter to Campoli

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