A good violin for Antonio Monzino, Milan 1911

Antonio Monzino was a prolific force in the Milanese instrument trade of the early 20th century. Instruments with his label appear from an enormous number of sources from factory-made German instruments, some of them varnished in Milan all the way through to definitive examples by the master-craftsmen who he represented as an import and export business.

The label of this particular example is explicit in identifying it as coming from the ‘Scuola Cremonese di Riccardo Antoniazzi’ as a copy of a Stradivari model. In fact, it is the same Stradivari model that the Antoniazzis had followed in their work for Leandro Bisiach who made similar claims to the Cremonese tradition on his labels as well, and follows forward in the same tradition.

The label is signed by Antonio Monzino, but we doubt he ever made a violin in his life. Instead the accuracy of this particular Stradivari-derived model, executed with slightly less care than expected from the Bisiach workshop is distinctive for Gaetano and the brothers Riccardo and Romeo Antoniazzi.

To play, the violin has an enormous sound and clarity, definitely on the bolder end of the spectrum, but with tremendous versatility and a subtle depth of colour. A great confident violin with bags of Italian character.