Notable Sale: Violin by Paolo Antonio Testore

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Paolo Antonio’s Instruments present a deeply personal, strong character. His finest instruments represent an important chapter of the history of the Milanese Violin-making School. One of his violins is highlighted on our 2023 Notable Sales by Amorim Fine Violins. Keep scrolling to see all the details.


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.

I would like to thank you once again for your kind and warm welcome during my visit to Cremona and the friendly contact since then.

I am very happy with my beautiful Testore, which I am currently playing in its modern state for quartet rehearsals and I am looking forward to playing it after the conversion as a baroque violin. Inspired by the beautiful book, I was able to read through at your atelier: “Violins, Guitars and Lute Makers” , I am sending you a recording that I made with a guitarist friend many years ago. I hope you enjoy it a little. Best regards and hope to see you soon in Munich or Cremona.


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.

Owning a high-quality instrument can be a rewarding experience.

Paolo Antonio Testore’s violins enjoy international acclaim, and they have garnered the admiration of many musicians who find their sound exceptional among Italian instruments. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to sell this remarkable piece and are delighted with the results of its sale.

When it comes to the world of violins, Testore’s creations are cherished for their distinct qualities, making them a compelling choice for discerning musicians and collectors alike.

Notable Sales

If you are searching for a fine instrument, let us provide it so you can uniquely express yourself in your entirety. Check out our current options of fine violins, violas, and cellos available for sale.