1759 Guadagnini Violin

Maker: Giovanni Battista Guadagnini

Origin: Parma, Italy

Made: 1759

Current Player: Helena Rathbone

Sound Notes: Rich, dark and strong


Owner: Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Date Acquired: 1996

Date Loaned to ACO: 1996

About the Instrument

Affectionately nicknamed ‘the Chocolate Monster’ by ACO’s Helena Rathbone, this instrument produces a rich and delicious sound not unlike it’s nickname.

Cited as an excellent example of Guadagnini’s work, from his latter years in Parma, Italy, this instrument was purchased by Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and has been on loan to the ACO since the late 90s. The loan remains an important aspect of CBA’s sponsorship of ACO, its intention to benefit the Orchestra and celebrate the instrument with ACO’s audiences. It was originally played by ACO Artistic Director Richard Tognetti until 2006, when Principal Violin Helena Rathbone became the instrument’s custodian.

The back of the instrument is a made from a single piece of maple with an irregular broad curl, as are the ribs, and the scroll made from a maple with less flame. The varnish is a rich reddish brown colour on a gold ground.


About the Maker

Born around 1710, Guadagnini stands out as the last of the great Italian violin makers of the 18th century. Guadagnini’s career was as varied as his style of craft, moving as he did through Piacenza, Milan, Cremona, Parma and finally Turin. He inherited the traditions of the Cremonese school through his father Lorenzo, but studies of his instruments show deliberate signs of continual evolution and progress. The sound of his instruments today attest that Guadagnini was indeed one of the great masters.

Navigate to:

All Instruments