A rare example from the golden-period of Milanese lutherie..


Four instruments of this sort are known, made in Milan by either Giovanni Grancino or Carlo Giuseppe Testore and spanning a period of approximately fifty years from the 1660s. Their original function remains unclear, but we suspect that they had an on-stage role in opera performances in Milan. This example was owned by Leandro Bisiach, and an engraving of its outline was used as part of his company letterhead. The head is probably by Bisiach although it was severely damaged by worm in relatively recent times making any judgement unusually difficult, and at a later date was converted to accommodate six strings creating an anachronistic instrument. The body is nevertheless an extremely fine example of Grancino’s work. Despite the unusual outline, there is much about his workmanship that demonstrates his prowess as a follower after the Cremonese school. We were delighted to advise an internationally significant musical instrument collection on their purchase of this instrument, and to provide a detailed forensic report to support acquisition.