Instruments Owned by Nippon Music Foundation

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Stradivarius 1714 Violin


  • “Dolphin”
  • “Dolphin”


The striking appearance and the rich varnish on the back of the violin was likened to the brilliant and changing colors of the graceful dolphin. It was named by George Hart, a violin dealer in London, who owned the violin in the late 1860’s. Since then, the violin has been called by the name of “Dolphin”. This violin was purchased by the well-known amateur player Mr. C. G. Meier in 1862 from Parisian dealer Jean-Baptiste Vuillame. In 1868, he sold the violin to George Hart. In 1875, it was sold to a well-known collector Mr. John Adam, who, among his other collections, in 1881-1882, disposed of it to David Laurie, the foremost international dealer of the day. In 1882, the violin was sold to Mr. Richard Bennett of Bolton, a collector as well as an amateur. In 1892, W. E. Hill & Sons acquired the violin from Mr. Bennett and then sold it to Mr. Lionel Walker Munro, bought it back from him, and then sold it to an excellent amateur player Mrs. A. N. Stothert, who retained it until 1915. In 1915, W. E. Hill & Sons re-purchased the violin and it returned to its previous owner, Mr. Richard Bennett. He disposed of his collection including “Dolphin” in 1926, and in 1935 it passed into the hands of Mr. George Kemp, Director of the well-known firm of biscuit manufacturers of the same name. In 1950, it passed into the hands of the violin virtuoso Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987). After Heifetz, the violin was kept in Mr. Henry Hottinger’s collection. Since 1970, the violin had been carefully kept by Mr. Cho-Ming Sin, a Hong Konger residing in England. Nippon Music Foundation acquired the instrument in February 2000.


The back is in two pieces of exceptionally handsome maple, marked by a rather irregular curl ascending from the joint. That of the sides are with medium curl. The scroll is with fainter curl. The table is in two pieces of selected spruce marked by fairly even grain of medium width, opening slightly at the flanks. The varnish is rich orange-red in color. This violin has always been referred to as an outstanding example of the Golden Period of Stradivari’s work in the W. E. Hill & Sons book, together with the 1715 “Alard” and the 1716 “Messie”.


Stradivarius 1714 Violin “Dolphin”

July 28, 1970 William Moenning & Son, Inc., to Mr. C. M. Sin
May 18, 1951 William E. Hill & Sons, to Jascha Heifetz
January 2, 1933 W. E. Hill & Sons, to Mr. G. H. Kemp


Stradivarius 1714 Violin “Dolphin”

January 13, 2000 Andrew Hill, Report to Nippon Music Foundation
September 9, 1950 William E. Hill & Sons, History letter to Jascha Heifetz

“Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari: 1644-1737” by H. K. Goodkind (P437)
“How Many Strads?” by Doring (P179)
“Antonio Stradivari His Life and Work (1644-1737)” P60/62

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