Violin made by Antonio Gragnani. Gragnani worked in Livorno Italy, an important Maritime and land trading centre since the late 1500s. Although Antonio’s actual date of birth has not been discovered, there is documentation supporting his activities as a violin maker in the city from 1741 to 1799.
This violin, bearing the original manuscript label dates 1768 is constructed on the “Amatese” model. Being full sized with slightly reduced proportions, the violin fits perfectly to a player with a smaller hand. It is interesting to note that the material used for the black of the purfling strips is constructed from “whale bone” rather than from dyed wood. Whale bone gives a very clean and striking appearance to the whole outline. A highlight rarely found in Italian instruments, but more common to violins made in the Netherlands. Perhaps, a connection can be made with regard to the aforementioned-trading centre.