Violin by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1694, 'Rutson'

Object type
Bequeathed by John Rutson,
Rutson Bequest
Stringed instrument: Violin by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1694, 'Rutson'

This handsome violin, dated 1694, came into the Academy's collection as part of the Rutson bequest. The arching is dramatically reduced in height from the earlier example and is to some degree Amati-influenced, being slightly scooped at the edges. The table arch possesses the characteristic Stradivari flatness in its length, while the back arch has a continuous, softly rounded curve.

The flowing edgework and the beautifully inlaid purflings with their upturned mitres show more confidence than the workmanship of the c.1666 violin, while the soundholes retain the Amati-like elegance but are slightly longer and the wings broader and squarer. Stradivari's manner of hollowing the lower wings more emphatically gives his soundholes an extra dimension, serving visually to lift the "f" from the surface of the front.

The head wood is marked with a light curl. The tapered pegbox gives a wide throat beneath the superbly carved and compact scroll. The back is made in one piece of strikingly figured maple, with matching ribs, while the table is of tight-grained spruce which opens towards the flanks. A wonderful quality of the Cremonese ground, as demonstrated here, is its ability to penetrate deeply into the fibres, preserving the wood, so that even worn areas retain a clean and reflective surface.

In 1997 the instrument was lent to Clio Gould who has used it to lead the London Sinfonietta and the BT Scottish Ensemble and to direct the Academy Soloists, premiering several important new works, some of which were inspired by this instrument's clear and penetrating tone.
Date made
woodwork, Stradivarius, violin
maple, spruce, ebony
Object type
Type Length Width Height Diameter Unit (length)
Stop length 193 mm
Neck 130.2 mm
Back Length 356 mm
Upper Bout 160 mm
Middle Bout 112 mm
Lower Bout 200 mm
Back length (with caliper) 353 mm
Upper Bout (with caliper) 159 mm
Middle Bout (with caliper) 110 mm
Lower Bout (with caliper) 198 mm
Total String Length 329 mm
Object No


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