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Violin, the 'Messiah' ('Messie')

‘The Messiah’ violin has not survived unaltered, but the lack of wear and the fresh appearance of the varnish set it apart from any other violin by Stradivari and from most by any ancient maker. It owes its remarkable state of preservation to the fact that, throughout its history, it has been a ‘collector’s piece’, rarely played and carefully protected by successive owners. The neck has been lengthened, a visible wedge between the heel and body inserted, and it has been fitted with a new sound bar, pegs, fingerboard. The elaborately carved pegs and boxwood tailpiece representing the Nativity of Christ, an allusion to the name by which it is popularly known, were added by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume, who owned the violin from 1854 until his death in 1875.

  • Maker:
    Stradivari, Antonio [Person]
  • Collection:
    Ashmolean Museum
  • Inventory number:
  • Place of production:
    Cremona (Timezone: Europe/Rome)
  • Culture:
  • Period:
  • Materials:spruce, maple
  • Specific materials/techniques:
  • Decorative elements:
  • Inscriptions:inscription/mark: Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis / Faciebat Anno 1716 (Printed label, undisturbed original, the last three digits added in ink)
  • Hornbostel-Sachs category:
  • Repository:Ashmolean Museum
  • Measurements:356 mm of back length; 167.5 mm upper bout (back) width; 108.25 mm middle bout (back) width; 208 mm lower bout (back) width; 328.5 mm string length