VIOLIN BY PAOLO ANTONIO TESTORE, MILAN, C. 1730
This instrument’s refined roughness illustrates Paolo Testore’s finest attributes: their strong and inventive personality, the maker’s gifted craftsmanship skills, and outstanding acoustic results. In our opinion, the most attractive aspect of this violin, despite its greatly preserved original varnish, is the distinctive ‘Testore’ head, marked by the large curved pegbox and the small delicately carved scroll.
This exceptional example of Paolo Antonio Testore’s work not only stands out the strong character of the maker1s approach but also indicates that this violin was within the family’s top-tier instruments.
The elegant and well-carved arching, the high quality of the wood and the varnish applied, the originally purfled back-plate, and the fully carved scroll indicate that this violin was on the high-quality level instruments range that the Testore Family offered to the musicians back in the 18th century. Unlike the also usual violins made with plain materials, thinner varnish texture, fake drawn purfling at the back, and the plain scroll back, partially fluted, which apparently were made at a faster pace, to be offered at lower prices to different ranges of clients
This instrument presents a rare state of preservation, as the violin was not over-polished throughout the centuries. With almost no later varnish additions or restorations, it allows us to see the true varnish texture of the maker’s original and traditional fine golden-orange varnish.
Paolo Antonio Testore (c.1690-1807) – Milan, Italy
Born in c.1690 in Milan, Paolo Antonio was the younger son of the family patriarch, Carlo Giuseppe. His production was rather limited in comparison to his father and to his elder brother, Carlo Antonio, with whom he strictly co-worked with until 1710. The considerable variance in the quality of his works is not due to any inconsistency of his craftsmanship skills, as his gifted hand noticed in his finest instruments could not be so if inconsistent, but most probably due to the different levels of instruments the family would make to offer to different costumers ranges.
The top tier ones show an elegant and well-carved arching, high-quality wood and fine varnish applied, originally purfled back-plate, and the fully carved scroll. On the other hand, the also usual, supposedly “lower class” violins were made with plain materials, sometimes with local wood, thinner varnish texture, fake drawn purfling at the back (many of which were later purflied by restorers), and the plain scroll back, partially fluted made at a faster pace, to be offered at lower prices. The analysis of his output leads to interpreting the sound and acoustic result as his main focus when crafting the instruments over the aesthetical concern.
Paolo Antonio died in Milan in 1767. Throughout his career, his work had different influences. From the style inherited from his father and the Grancino Family to the presence in the town of G.B Guadagnini after 1749 and later by his collaboration with Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi.