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A provincial Stradivari for £1m?

30 October 2006Written by ATG Reporter

A Stradivari violin, which has been played in concert halls all over the world, is being offered for sale by Corsham-based auctioneers Gardiner Houlgate in London on November 6.

The Sauret Stradivari, named after one of the most important players of the 19th century, is expected to fetch up to £1m at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair.

It has been consigned by a professional musician who, in recent years, has loaned it out to other players.

Made around 1680-1685, little is known of the instrument’s early history. Its first record is in the notes of the famous 18th century violin maker John Betts, who in 1775 referred to its owner as a Mr Hammer and in 1808 as a Dr Ernly. He later repaired it for a Reverend Jefferson.

Later in the century the well-known Scottish collector David Laurie bought it. He took it to Paris and in 1880 sold it to a player named Gleichoff. In 1885 Gleichoff sold it to Emile Sauret, the soloist who used it for 35 years until his death in 1920.

It was then sold to a violinist named John Sheridan and in 1928, after Sheridan’s death, went to W.E. Hill & Sons. They held it for many years, selling it in 1965 to its present owner for £7500.

On February 14, 2005 Etienne Vatelot of Paris issued a certificate of authenticity stating that in his opinion the violin is a typical example of Stradivari’s work of the period 1680-1685.

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ATG Reporter

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