Instruments Owned by Nippon Music Foundation

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Stradivarius

Stradivarius 1714 Violin

“Dolphin”

  • “Dolphin”

Feature

The back is in two pieces of wood, marked by a rather irregular curl ascending from the joint, that of the sides and head being plainer. The table is marked by fairly even grain of medium width, and the varnish is rich orange-red in color, worn in places to gold. An outstanding example of the Golden Period of Stradivari’s work, this violin of high repute has always been considered important; as well described in the books by W. E. Hill & Sons, it has always been referred to as one of the three top Stradivari violins of the years 1714-1716, known as D.A.M: the “Dolphin (1714)”, the “Alard (1715)” and the “Messie (1716)”. One of the most famous violins known, it has a justifiable reputation for tone and appearance that place it in the top class of instruments that have been handed down to the present time.

History

The striking appearance and the rich varnish on the back was likened to the brilliant and changing colours of the graceful dolphin. It was named by George Hart, a violin dealer of London, who owned the violin in the late 1880’s, and since then, the violin has been called by the name of ‘Dolphin’.

It was purchased by the well-known amateur player Mr. C. G. Meir in 1862 from Jean Baptiste Vuillame (1798-1875) of Paris. In 1868, he sold the violin to George Hart. It was later sold to a well-known collector Mr. John Adam, which, among his other collections, in 1881-1882, he disposed of 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 who dispersed his collection of instruments about 1890. In 1892, via W. E. Hill & Sons, the violin passed into the hands of an excellent amateur player, Mrs. Stothert, who retained it until 1915. In 1915, W. E. Hill & Sons re-purchased the violin and it returned to its previous owner, Mr. Bennett. He disposed of his collection including ‘Dolphin’ in 1926, and it then passed into the hands of Mr. George Kemp, Director of the well-known firm of biscuit manufacturers of that name. In 1950, it passed into the hands of the violin virtuoso, Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987). Since 1970, the violin had been carefully possessed by Mr. Cho Ming Sin, a Hong Konger residing in England. In February 2000, Nippon Music Foundation acquired the instrument from Mr. Cho Ming Sin.

Certificate

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

Reference

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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