I’ve been neglecting this blog I’m afraid. Too many distractions. But the completion of my last commission for an American client has stimulated a few thoughts about the instrument from which it was copied. I restored the original viola many years ago when it was in the hands of a distinguished London player, and became fascinated with it then. I made a few copies of it at that time, but it’s been many years since I revisited it. It was made at the end of the sixteenth century in Venice, by Ventura di Linarol, originally as a viola da braccia, a particular instrument popular in Venice and Brescia at that time, with unstopped strings running alongside the left side of the fingerboard, usually with the lower bout curving inward at the endpin. They were made in various sizes, and a particularly fine large viola da braccia by Linarol is kept in the National Music Museum in Dakota, U.S.A.. Linarol was also the author of a violin of equally distinctive form, in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. The back, sides and neck of this equally fascinating instrument is made of dark hardwood.