French Violin Makers, German Violin Makers, English Violin Makers, Antonio Stradivari

Italian Violin Makers

MORELLA, ——, Mantua, about 1550. M. Fétis, in his "Biographie Universelle des Musiciens," states that he was famous for his Viols and Lutes. S. Ang. Maffei, in his "Annali di Mantova" (fol. 147), highly praises the instruments made by Morella.

NADOTTI, Giuseppe, Piacenza. A Violin by this maker was in 1881 exhibited at the Milan Exhibition, dated 1767.

NELLA, Raffaele, Brescia, copied Maggini.

ORTEGA, ——, Madrid, about 1840. Maker and restorer of instruments.

PANDOLFI, Antonio, Venice. A Violin of this make, dated 1719, was among the instruments exhibited at the Milan Exhibition in 1881.

PANORMO, Vincenzo, Palermo, born about 1740, died 1813. This maker was one of the most successful followers of Antonio Stradivari. Panormo and Lupot share the palm as copyists of the great Cremonese master. Neither appears to have attempted to create a model of his own; their sole aim was to imitate to the utmost the various patterns of Stradivari, Guarneri, and Amati, but they principally confined themselves to Stradivari.

Vincenzo Panormo left Italy in early life, and settled for a short time in Paris, from which city a few of his instruments are dated. From Paris he removed to London, where he remained many years. He also visited Ireland, where he made, it is said, several beautiful instruments from an old maple billiard-table, with which he was fortunate enough to meet. He was of a restless temperament, which showed itself in continual self-imposed changes. He would not, or could not, permit his reputation to grow steadily, by residing long in one place, but as soon as fame was within his grasp, he sacrificed the work of years by removing to an entirely new field of labour.

Panormo furnishes us with another example of the certain appreciation, sooner or later, of exceptional talents. No matter how trifling the circumstances under which gifted men have laboured, some time or other their genius is discovered, and acknowledged with its due award, if not of fortune, at least of fame. The peculiar circumstances under which Panormo lived would have been sufficient in the case of most men to dwarf all efforts. Unable to obtain readily that patronage to which his abilities justly entitled him, he removed from city to city, hoping to discover a resting-place, in which favour might attend his art. No doubt this was a mistaken course, and one which robbed his work of the attention which a mind undisturbed by the care of existence can bestow; nevertheless his natural gifts had a vitality that could not entirely be suppressed. He worked and toiled for his art and for bare sustenance alternately. His life, like that of many others in the paths of literature and science, was a continued battle with adversity. Such persons are forced to satisfy daily wants by slaving at work which brings them but little credit in after time, and becomes a standard by which they are too often erroneously judged.

Vincenzo Panormo was the slave of many, manufacturing Double Basses and other instruments from the material selected and purchased by his temporary employer, ofttimes compelled to carry out some crotchet of the patron much against his own wishes. The wood thus forced upon him was often of the worst description; and, in addition, he was frequently obliged to complete his work within a given time. Instruments manufactured under such conditions can scarcely, it may be supposed, add to their maker's reputation. We cannot but regret that he should have been obliged to waste himself on such poor materials. Fortunately, however, in some cases he found time to exercise his skilful powers to their full extent, and has thus bequeathed to us some of the finest specimens of the copyist's art.

His workmanship is of a lighter description than that of Lupot, and is therefore more graceful. The sound-hole is admirably cut, and the scroll also well carved.

PANSANI, Antonio, Rome, 1735.

PASTA, Antonio, Brescia, 1700-1730. Good work. Model a little high; varnish of soft quality.