Labelled Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno 1699 also bearing an illegible inscription iternally dated 1790, length of back 13 15/16 in (354mm), with a brass-mounted fitted case of walnut and satinwood veneer, probably for W.E. Hill and Sons, engraved on the lock plate Lady Tennant/40 Grosvenor Square W. (2)
Charles Philippe LaFont
William E. Hill and Sons
Lady Tennant
Max Moller
Dr. Bernhard Sprengel
Present owner

The earliest record of ownership was with the celebrated French violinist Charles Philippe Lafont. A contemporary and rival of Nicolo Paganini, Lafont owned two other Stradivari during his career - one a slightly later work from 1708 and another example, again from 1699. After the death of Lafont in 1839 the violin eventually found its way to the London dealers W. E. Hill and Sons. In 1900 Arthur F. Hill sold the violin to the Scottish industrialist and financier Sir Charles Tennant. Sir Charles presented it to his wife Lady Tennant, (Marguerite Miles), an amateur violinist. The violin from then on would be known as The Lady Tennant.
On the 17th of March 1900 Arthur Hill wrote in a letter to Lady Tennant while delivering the violin to her residence at 40 Grosvenor Square, "...though you may perhaps see a Strad that you may be told is of a different period or more attractive, you cannot get one in the very perfect state that this instrument is. Such violins never come into the saleroom nor are they offered publicly in any way."

By 1937 the violin was in the collection of the Amsterdam dealer and connoisseur Max Moller. In that same year it was included in the Cremona exhibition, L'Esposizione di Liuteria Antica a Cremona, celebrating the bicentennial of Stradivari's death. In the year 1944 Moller sold the violin to the collector and philanthropist, Doctor Bernhard Sprengel of Hannover. For the last twenty-four years the violin has been in the possession of a private collector.
E. N. Doring, How Many Strads?, Chicago, 1945, pp. 100-2.

A. Gingrich, A Thousand Mornings of Music, New York, 1970, p. 62.
W. Henley, Antonio Stradivari, Master Luthier, Brighton, 1961, p. 34.

H. K. Goodkind, Violin Iconography of Antonio Stradivari, New York, 1972, pp. 295, 729, and 753.

W. H. Hill, A, F. Hill and A. E. Hill, Antonio Stradivari, His Life and Work, London, 1909, p. 51.

J. Karel, Italian Violin Makers, London, 1964, p. 388.

L'Esposizione di Liuteria Antica a Cremona nel 1937, Cremona, 1938, pp. 75, 139, pl. 63.

M. Möller, Italiaansche Vioolbouw, Amsterdam, 1935, pp. 12-3, pl. 8.

F. Niederheitmann, Cremona, Eine Charakteristik der Italienischer Geigenbauer und ihrer Instrumente, Leipzig, 1909, p. 147.

Lot Essay

Sold with the accompanying certificates and documents:
William E. Hill and Sons, London March 20, 1900 with accompanying letter from Arthur F. Hill dated March 17, 1900

Max Moller, Amsterdam May 22, 1944

Dendrochronology test by John C. Topham, February 6, 2003

The dendrochronological analysis states that the year rings positively match a number of other works by Stradivari. Of note are matches with a 1696 Stradivari viola, known as The Archinto, belonging to London's Royal Academy of Music as well as two other 1699 violins, one belonging to the Musée de la Musique in Paris, and a violin made in 1700.

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