Violin By Ferdinando Gagliano, Naples, 1771
Covered with a lovely golden varnish, this Ferdinando Gagliano violin presents most of the typical characteristics of the Neapolitan school that was consolidated by his own generation: The curved shape of the pegbox, the delicate and small design of the scroll, and the Stradivari model of the body and f-holes, with full but elegant and mild arching. This violin was first purchased by W. E. Hill and Sons around 1916, and since 1928 the violin has remained in the same family. The violin still retains its Hill fingerboard. Currently in a good state of preservation. The Dendrochronology report dates the last ring of the top from 1755.
Ferdinando Gagliano (1738 – 1804) – Naples, Italy
Ferdinando Gagliano was the older of the 3rd generation of the famous Neapolitan violin maker’s family. It is believed that a major part of his studies was conducted by his uncle, Gennaro Gagliano.His instruments are widely recognized for their high-level craftsmanship and tonal qualities.
Back in the 17th century, when violin making in Italy was mainly concentrated in northern cities like Brescia and Cremona, a new school was born down south in the city of Naples and got formed through the work of the multiple generations of the Gagliano family. In the second half of the 1600s, Alessandro Gagliano led off the beginning of one of the most productive and unusually long violin-making family traditions in Italy. Historians and biographers believe that he, traveling north to Cremona, learned from the great masters of that time, such as Nicoló Amati and Antonio Stradivari. Alessandro would not only have learned the craft itself but how to select wood for both acoustics and aesthetics purposes, highlights of the family instruments, and the trade business too. For over 200 years and 5 generations, the Gagliano family dominated the Neapolitan market of bowed stringed instruments. Alessandro himself worked until the age of 90, enough time to train and pass his knowledge to his sons, and they to theirs, and so on.
From all the family members, Ferdinando Gagliano is believed to be the most productive member of the 3rd generation of the family. It was in this period, through the second half of the 1700s, that the family consolidated its style and matured its approach into what is defined until today as the Neapolitan School of violin making. Ferdinando, along with his brothers, was trained in one of the world’s finest violin-making workshops. But unlike his brothers, Ferdinando does not seem to have learned his craft from his father, Nicolò. In fact, the influence of his uncle Gennaro in his style, models, and fine details is undeniable. All leads to believe that he pursued, as much as possible, a solo career, with some independence of the family business, eventually coworking with his brothers.