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The Bergonzi Family of Violin Makers

The most illustrious of several violin makers in the Bergonzi family was Carlo, born in Cremona, Italy, in 1683 (d. 1747). His training is not documented, but his early instruments show the influence of the Guarneri family as well as his contemporary, Antonio Stradivari.  At one time it was erroneously believed that Carlo was a student and assistant of Stradivari.  His instruments are greatly esteemed and often are compared to those of his masters, but in general they are not considered as fine. He used several different wordings on his labels but a typical one reads:

Anno 1733, Carlo Bergonzi
fece in Cremona

Like the works of other great makers, the Bergonzi instruments are often imitated, so the presence of a label bearing his name is no guarantee that the instrument was actually made by Carlo Bergonzi.

A Selected Bibliography

Hamma, Walter. Meister italienischer Geigenbaukunst. rev. ed. New York: Baerenreiter Music Publishers, 1964. Text in German, English, and French.

Henley, William.  Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers. 1956-60.  Reprint. 5 vols. + supplement. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England: Amati Publishing, Ltd. 1997.

Jalovec, Karel. Enzyklopädie des Geigenbaues. Trans. into German by Charlotte and Ferdinand Kirschner. Prague: Artia, 1965.

Lütgendorff, Willibald Leo, Freiherr von. Die Geigen und Lautenmacher vom Mittelalter bis zur Gegenwart, nach den besten Quellen bearbeitet. 2 vols. 6th ed. Frankfurt am Main: Frankfurter Verlags-Anstalt, 1922.

Sadie, Stanley and Tyrrell, John, eds. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 29 vols. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Vannes, René, and Claude Lebet. Dictionnaire universel des luthiers. 3 vols. 5th ed. Brussels: Les Amis de la musique, 1981.

Woodcock, Cyril. Dictionary of Contemporary Violin and Bow Makers. Continues William Henley's Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers.  Brighton, Sussex, England: Amati Publishing, Ltd. 1965.

Other violin makers a violin making families: Amati, da Salo, Duiffopruggar, Gagliano, Glass, Guarneri, Hopf, Klotz, Maggini, Ruggieri, Stainer, Stradivarius, Vuillaume

Authentication and Appraisal of Violins

Prepared by the Division of Music, Sports and Entertainment
in cooperation with Public Inquiry Services, Smithsonian Institution

PIMS/MUS19/rev 1-05


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