Violin Maker
Carlo Giuseppe Testore

Italy, Milan

Carlo Giuseppe Testore, a prominent Milanese luthier born in Novara around 1660, learned from Giovanni Grancino and established his workshop in Milan in the late 17th century. Influenced by Grancino, his instruments feature elegant designs with unique elements like the bold scrolls. Testore's craftsmanship, continued by his sons Carlo Antonio and Paolo Antonio, left a lasting legacy in violin making, particularly celebrated for their exceptional cellos.Read more

Short Bio

Full Name: Carlo Giuseppe Testore


New making style: n/a


Italian 17th-century

Milanese Violin-making exponent

Sought-after by soloists and collectors

Exuberant powerfull tone

Locally making

Italy, Milan

Maker Background

Very little of what it is known of the history of the members of the Testore family is confirmed by documents or civil registers remained from the late 17th century. Carlo Giuseppe Testore seems to have been born in Novara around 1660, established himself as a prominent luthier in Milan in a short period of time, as his earliest works are found from c. 1685 and on.

Influenced by Giovanni Grancino, who is believed to be his only tutor, he crafted instruments marked by elegant, compact designs inspired mostly by the Amati's influence in the field, in the way it was absorved and interpretated by G. Grancino, and also unique features like the bold diagonal sketeched scrolls, distinguishing them from the master's work. Throughout his carrer, Carlo Giuseppe Testore incresed the individuality in his work, especially in his very esteemed cellos. In comparison to those of Grancino's, his purflings were rather wider, and the fluting around the plates was somehow shallower and of a stronger looking. In general his instrumentes presented more of a bold style.

Just like his precessor, Testore seem to have worked basically with two varnish recipes: one darker, redish, of a softer texture, slighlty less transparent, and apparently of a higher difficulty level of application and maintainance. The other, of a lighter golden colour, of higher transparency and harder texture, apparently easier to manage as it seems to be of a quicker drying recipe. The choice of both varnishes would vary according to the quality of the wood and the rest of the materials at his disposal, which would mainly dictate the importance of the project and therefore the level of refinement, but there is also indication that each of the varnish recipes would suit better a specific weather and humidity level, therefore adapting better to a specific period of the year. By the later period of his career, the golden one seems to have become more consistent and used more often, and so it remained in the work of his sons.

Testore's sons, Carlo Antonio and Paolo Antonio, continued his legacy, maintaining the family's reputation for exceptional craftsmanship. With influences from Stradivari and Amati, Testore developed his own techniques, epitomized by the iconic "Testore scroll" and longer corners. His cellos, renowned for their quality, reflect his mastery of the craft and enduring legacy in violin making. The labels indicate that the family workshop was also located at Contrada Larga in Milan, the very same location where Grancino, Lavazza, and alter, Landolfi, stablished their workshops.

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