Violins Violin Makers Named Gagliano

As many as eighteen violin makers named Gagliano are known. The following among them are outstanding:

Alessandro (Naples, Italy, flourished c. 1700-c. 1735), who worked in the shops of Nicolo Amati and Antonio Stradivari in his youth, and, after returning to Naples from Cremona, came to be known as the founder of the Neapolitan school. The tonal quality of his instruments is described as very mellow on the G and D strings and delightfully silvery on the two top strings. Authentic examples of his instruments in good condition are scarce. Some violas, cellos, and one double bass, and several violins have survived.

Typical label: Alexandri [or AlessandroGagliano
Alumnus Antonio Stradivarius
fecit Anno 1722

(i.e., made by Alessandro Gagliano, a student of Antonio Stradivari)

Nicolo I (Naples, flourished c. 1740-c. 1780), the eldest son of Alessandro, made many admirable instruments in his long life. They have often been imitated and some have been mistaken for those of Stradivari.

Typical labels: Nicolaii Gagliano fecit
in Napoli 1711

(i.e., made by Nicolo Gagliano in Naples)

Nicolaus Gagliano filius
Alexandri fecit Neap. 1732

(i.e., made by Nicolo Gagliano, son of Alessandro)

Gennaro or Januarius (Naples, flourished c. 1740-c. 1780), was the second son of Alessandro. He made some fine instruments and has a prominent place in the family.

Fernando (Naples, flourished c. 1770-c. 1795), the eldest son of Nicolo I, made some magnificent as well as some nondescript trade instruments. His output was prodigious.



Boyden, David Dodge, et al. The New Grove Violin Family. New York: W.W. Norton, 1989.

Hamma, Fridolin. German Violin Makers: A Critical Dictionary of German Violin Makers, with a Series of Plates Illustrating Characteristic and Fine Examples of Their Work. Translated by Walter Stewart. London: W. Reeves, 1961.

Henley, William. Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers. 1959. (5 vols. supplement) Reprint. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England: Amati Publishing Ltd., 1997.

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

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

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

Woodcock, Cyril. Dictionary of Contemporary Violin and Bow Makers. Brighton, Sussex, England: Amati Publishing Ltd., 1965.

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

PIMS/Mus21/rev. 8/00