A fine English violin by George Wulme Hudson, Chessington, circa 1900 ascribed to Giovanni Baptista Pallencia.

Giovanni Pallencia, or Giovanni Baptista Pallencia was one of the spurious identities used by George Wulme Hudson in his production of ‘speculative’ violins. Of two examples that we have seem the present label suggests that Pallencia was a pupil of the Gagliano family in Naples who had moved to Milan before making the violin. Another seen recently claimed to be a copy of a Landophi from mid-eighteenth-century Milan made by a Venetian “Giovanni Baptista Pallencia”. In either example, Hudson’s technique of merging two competing Italianate styles leads to instruments that are superficially identifiable as Italian, whilst leaving the viewer guessing as to region in which they were made. In the present example, the soundholes and arching are extremely familiar for the work of Nicolo Gagliano. Meanwhile the rough wood for the back, ribs and scroll superficially resembles Milanese workmanship from the middle of the eighteenth century. The wide and flat edges combine to point closest to certain examples by Giovanni Baptista Guadagnini from his earliest years in Milan (around 1750). The label date of 1869 however is both several generations to young to be taken seriously for any of its claims, whilst predating the actual point of manufacture by a good half-century.

Like the Voller Brothers active around the same time, Wulme Hudson understood the perilous balancing act between being a copyist or a forger. The violin retains it’s “G.C.” (George Caressi, another pseudonym) initials on the label as well as the interior brand. However, Hudson built speculatively, knowing that violins of this kind could sell quickly into the wrong hands, who would remove identifying marks before trying the instruments as Italian.

Hudson’s better violins are much in demand. The faithful reading of Gagliano architecture at the heart of this instrument provides a violin with an appealing loudness and clarity.

 

Labelled: “Giovanni Pallencia / Alumnus Gagliano fecit / Milano 1869”, with the initials “G.C.” on the corner of the label. Stamped internally “Geo WULME HUDSON”

Length of Back: 355mm
Upper Bouts: 164mm
Middle Bouts: 115mm
Lower Bouts: 125mm
Stop Length: 195mm