Italian, 17th century
Pietro Guarneri (1655-1720) the uncle of the more famous Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesù, is notable among the roster of great Italian luthiers for having been as well a successful professional musician. Whatever his skills as a performer may have contributed to his development as a luthier, their practice did apparently have the unfortunate effect of limiting the quantity of his instruments, if, happily, not their quality. To quote the Messrs. Hill, "If we judge him purely from the craftsmanship point of view, we should say that he surpassed al the others of his family, not excepting Del Gesù." Itself once in the possession of the Hills, this instrument is one of the very few extant viols by a member of the Guarneri family. It is of the archaic, guitar-shaped model favored by several of the early Venetian makers.
Label: "Petrus Guarnerius Cremonensis filius Andreae fecit Mantuae sub. tit. Sanctae Teresiae 1689." Flat back of maple, of small curl, canted toward the neck at the top; ribs of matching maple; table of a single piece of fine grained pine; varnish of rich orange color. Overal length 76.8cm; length of body 45.7cm.
Provenance: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jacques Français
Accession No. 4675.1980