National Music Museum Logo   National Music Museum  
Home  Collections
Virtual Tour
Calendar Gift Shop FAQ Site Index Maker Index


Images from The Rawlins Gallery

The King Henry IV Violin by Antonio and Girolamo Amati, Cremona, ca. 1595

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

NMM 14470. Violin, The King Henry IV, by Antonio and Girolamo Amati, Cremona, ca. 1595. Ex colls.: King Henry IV, France; François de Bassompierre and family, France; King Louis XVIII, France; Jean-Baptiste Cartier, Paris; George Hart, London; Royal de Forest Hawley, Hartford, Connecticut; Albert Hastings Pitkin, Hartford; Lyon & Healy, Chicago; Edmund V. Bukolt, Stevens Point, Wisconsin; The Copernicus Cultural Foundation, Chicago. Purchase funds gift of Kevin Schieffer, Sioux Falls, 2010.

Listen to a live demonstration by Eunho Kim, USD Assistant Professor of Music and member of the Rawlins Trio, played The King Henry IV violin at the presentation ceremony held in the Arne B. Larson Concert Hall at the NMM on May 14, 2010.

Listen to Peter McGuire of the Minnesota Orchestra perform J. S. Bach's Partita No. 3 in E Major on The King Henry IV violin, on YouTube.

Views of the Scroll

Front of scroll Bass side of scroll Treble side of scroll Back of scroll

Views of the Body

Front of violin body Back of violin body

Back of violin body, horizontal view

Note: Click on any area of the painting on the back of the violin to see a close-up of that area.

The violin bears painting which is remarkably similar in technique to that found on The King cello by Andrea Amati, painted for one of Henry IV’s predecessors, Charles IX. The original decoration on The King Henry IV, found on the sides, back, and scroll of the violin, is remarkable for its thick application of translucent blue and red pigment layered over gold, which lends a jewel-like quality to the central armorials and two flanking H's on the back. The armorials are an amalgam of significant noble devices, including the conjoined arms of France and Navarre, as well as the medallion of the Order of Saint-Michel, and the collar of the Order of Saint-Esprit.


Treble soundhole

Views of Painting on Ribs

Bass ribs

Treble ribs

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

The sides of the violin feature the gold-painted Latin motto HENRICUS • IV • DEI GRAT • FRANC ET • NAV • REX, which can be translated as "Henry, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre."


"Amati Family Reunion Continues," Strings Trade: News and View of the Violin Business (June 2010).

Gary Ellenbolt, "A King's Violin: From Italy to South Dakota," All Things Considered, National Public Radio, July 7, 2010.

"National Music Museum Augments its Amati Collection: 'King Henry IV' Brothers Amati to Join Fine violins in Vermillion, South Dakota," The Strad website.

Sarah Deters Richardson and Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet, "Medical Imaging Enables Staff to See the 'Whole' Picture," NMM Newsletter 37, No. 2 (August 2010).

Arian Sheets, "King Henry IV's Amati Violin Joins NMM's Crown Jewels," NMM Newsletter 37, No. 2 (August 2010).

Erin Shrader, "The French Connection—National Music Museum Receives the Rarest of Gifts," Strings 184 (August 2010): 68.

"The National Museum of Music [sic] Receives a Violin by Antonio and Girolamo Amati Bearing Armorials of King Henri IV of Navarre and France," France-Midwest Express Retrospective (August/September 2010).

"Violin Strings Together French Past and American Future," News from France: A Free Monthly Review of French News and Trends (Washington, DC: French Embassy Press and Communication Service) 10.07 (September 30, 2010): 8.

Andrew Dipper and Claire Givens, "Fit for A King," The Strad 121, No. 1446 (October 2010): 26-34.

David Lias, "400-year-old Violin Unveiled at National Music Museum," Vermillion Plain Talk (October 1, 2010).

  Click arrow to continue Rawlins Gallery Tour

Go to Rawlins Gallery Tour Index

Go to Virtual Tour Index

Technical Drawing of Amati Violin Available from Gift Shop

Go to Checklist of Bowed Stringed Instruments Made Before 1800

Go to Checklist of 16th- and 17th-Century Instruments

National Music Museum
The University of South Dakota
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069

©National Music Museum, 2010-2014
Most recent update: March 7, 2014

The University of South Dakota
Return to Top of Page

Front of scroll Front of neck Front, upper bouts Front, upper bass corner Front, upper bouts Front, upper treble corner Soundholes Front, lower bass corner Soundholes Front, lower treble corner Front, lower bout Bass side of scroll Bass side of neck Bass side, upper bout Bass side, lower bout Treble side of scroll Treble side of neck Treble side, upper bout Treble side, lower bout Back of scroll Back of neck Neck heel Back, upper bout Back, center bouts Back, lower bouts Back, upper bout Back, center armorial Back, lower bouts Bass side, upper rib Bass side, upper and center rib Bass side, lower rib Bass side, lower rib End rib Treble side, lower rib Treble side, center rib Treble side, upper rib