Barak Norman died in 1724, after which point his apprentice, Nathaniel Cross went into collaboration with his widow for a period spanning 1724 and 1725. Instruments of this period labelled jointly as “Barak Norman and Nathaniel Cross” are invariably wholly the hand of Cross. This particular small-sized cello was probably intended for an adult viola da gamba player looking for a violoncello of similar scale, and now conforms to a good three-quarter-size. The modelling is exceptionally Italianate – the soundholes are directly copied from G.P. Maggini, and the overall modelling is close to Giovanni Grancino in appearance, making for an instrument of extremely high quality and interest with potential for historical performance, for an adult musician willing to trade size for a compelling history and tonal qualities, or for a talented young player.
A fine and rare small-sized cello by Barak Norman & Nathaniel Cross, London 1724