28 April 2010
GIOVANNI BAPTISTA GUADAGNINI
A VIOLIN, MILAN, CIRCA 1753
Labeled Joannes Baptista Guadagnini Pla- centinus fecit Mediolani 1753, length of back: 13 7/8 in. (352 mm) with case (3)
James William Briggs
Viola Mitchell Fearnside
The late 19th and early 20th centuries recognized Glasgow as an important cultural center attracting artists and musicians from all over the world including James William Briggs and Margaret Horne. As the first documented owner of this violin, Briggs is perhaps best recognized as a maker building over 300 instruments. Although Briggs traveled widely throughout Europe increasing his exposure, he settled in burgeoning Glasgow where he was able to strengthen his expertise. Horne, once a student of Joseph Joachim, traveled and performed throughout Europe and the United States. She acquired this particular violin during her time in Glasgow before passing it into the hands of her pupil, Viola Mitchell.
As an international concert violinist, Mitchell began her career as a child prodigy. At only thirteen years of age she made her Carnegie Hall debut accompanied by the pianist, Andre Benoist. By fourteen, Mitchell was studying with the great Belgian master, Eugene Ysaye. She studied alongside other greats including William Primrose, Josef Gingold and Nathan Milstein. She made her European debut at the age of sixteen in Belgium performing for their Queen Elizabeth, an introduction which matured into a lasting friendship. Mitchell concretized throughout Europe, performing as a soloist with The London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Symphonique de Paris, the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam as well as other significant European companies. Mitchell also experienced tremendous success in the United States. She appeared three times with the Boston Symphony as well as major orchestras across the US. Mitchell also made a distinguished appearance at the White House performing for Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Mitchell's stellar concert career garnered extraordinary acclaim from the music community including Jacques Thibaud, Otakar Sevcik, Frtiz Kreisler, Joseph, Szigeti, Albert Spalding and Leopold Auer. Mitchell performed on the international concert stage for forty years before retiring professionally in 1959. The violin passed to Mitchell's descendants and remains in the family.
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The Violinist, April 1922, pgs. 126-127.
E. N. Doring, The Guadagnini Family of Violin Makers, Chicago, 1949, p. 125.
Certificate: W.E. Hill & Sons, London, June 14, 1907 and sold with an appraisal, William Moennig & Son, Philadelphia, January 12, 2007
Please note that in the catalogue the complete text for the final sentence of provenance should read: Mitchell's stellar concert career garnered extraordinary acclaim from the music community including Jacques Thibaud, Otakar Sevcik, Frtiz Kreisler, Joseph, Szigeti, Albert Spalding and Leopold Auer. Mitchell performed on the international concert stage for forty years before retiring professionally in 1959. The violin passed to Mitchell's descendants and remains in the family.
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