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Viola by Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza, Milan, Italy, 1793

Note: Click on any major structural area of the instrument to see a close-up of that area.

NMM 3369. Viola by Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza, Milan, 1793. Ex colls.: Contessa Olignati, Como, Italy; Andrea Bisiach, Milan; J. & A. Beare, London. Witten-Rawlins Collection, 1984. Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza (born ca. 1730-died 1803) was the best-known maker of a family of luthiers and restorers who worked in the Milan area at the end of the 18th century. This viola is in mint condition with all of its original fittings, including a totally undisturbed neck and fingerboard.

Label inscription: Peirus Joannes Mantegatia fecit Me- / diolani in Via S. Margaritae 1793

Varnish: yellow-brown. Body: two-piece spruce front, cut on the quarter, fine grain at center seam, widening towards the flanks; knots in lower treble bout and lower treble corner; two-piece maple back, cut on the quarter, very faint horizontal figure; maple ribs matching back; maple neck and scroll; bone nut; black-stained, hardwood tailpiece faced in ebony with keyhole-shaped string holes and no saddle; very narrow ebony saddle (does not extend to edge of purfling); stained and turned boxwood endpin; stained boxwood pegs with bone pins; maple pins through back of blocks on treble side at top and bass side at bottom; one nail through top block.



Note: Click on image above to see a larger image of the soundholes.

Pegbox and Scroll Views

Front view of pegbox Bass side view of pegbox Treble side view of pegbox Back view of pegbox

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Neck Heel

Neck heel Back button and pin

Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the neck heel area.

Upper End of Belly

View 1 underneath fingerboard View 2 underneath fingerboard View 3 underneath fingerboard

Note: Click on images above to see larger images of the upper end of belly.

Literature:  Roger Hargrave, "Presentation Order," The Strad 96, No. 1142 (June 1985), p. 127.

Margaret Downie Banks, "The Witten-Rawlins Collection and Other Early Italian Stringed Instruments at The Shrine to Music Museum," Journal of the Violin Society of America 8, No. 3 (1987), pp. 41, 45-46.

Maurice W. Riley, The History of the Viola, Vol. II (Ann Arbor: Braun-Brumfield, 1991), pp. 40, 59, plate 37.

The Strad 1998 Calendar: Milan Makers 1670-1800.

Click here to access an index of all available digital images of this instrument.

High-Quality Image (Actual Size) of this Viola Available from Luthier's Library of Violin and Viola Photographs.

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Technical Drawing of this Viola Available from Gift Shop

Consult the Luthier's Library for additional measurements and photos

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Front view of pegbox Front of neck Upper bout Front bass corner Front treble corner Soundholes Front, upper bout Front, lower bass corner Front, lower treble corner Soundholes Front, lower bout Front, lower bout Tailpiece Lower end Treble side of pegbox Treble side of neck Treble side of body Bass side of pegbox Bass side of body Lower end Back of pegbox Back of neck Upper end of back Upper bout, back Upper treble corner, back Upper bass corner, back Upper bout, back Lower treble corner, back Lower bass corner, back Center bout, back Center bout, back Lower bout, back Lower pin, back Lower end Lower end