The Museum is a treasure trove of fascinating objects, all of which have rich, hidden stories to tell

Whether on display or in our stores, items in our collection provide inspiration and a wealth of material for researchers, students and music lovers alike.

Viotti ex Bruce Stradivari

One of our rarest and most exquisite instruments on display is the Viotti ex Bruce Stradivari violin, pictured below.

A perfect partnership

Reputedly played to Queen Marie Antoinette and owned by the virtuoso and composer, Giovanni Battista Viotti (1755-1824), this violin is such a treasure because it is in superb condition. A good percentage of the original varnish is intact and it shows fewer signs of wear than other Stradivaris of similar age. This may have been Viotti's 'spare' instrument or one he played less frequently than others.

Viotti played a part in promoting the Stradivari brand and although his public performing career only lasted around ten years, he left an indelible impression on violinists that followed; his playing was technically brilliant but also full of power, charm and emotion.

The beautiful flame maple, one piece back still retains much of the original varnish.

Explore further

The Viotti ex Bruce violin is one of over 200 stringed instruments in our collection, all of which are playable.