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Nicolo Gagliano Naples, c1751
This cello by Nicolo Gagliano (1714 – 1785) is one of the most beautiful examples that we have seen by this maker. The matching maple used for the back, ribs and scroll is of the highest quality. It was made around 1751 on a form that was clearly inspired by the cellos of Stradivari. This is the model that was adopted and used by all the generations of the Gagliano family.
The cello was sold in 1949 by Rembert Wurlitzer to the family that still owns it. Accompanying the original certificate is a letter from Rembert Wurlitzer mentioning its previous owner, Ambrose Gauntlett, who was the solo cellist of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
“Mr. Gauntlett told me the time I met him that this cello had, many years ago, been in the possession of a member of the Royal Family and that it had been lost in a gambling debt. He advised me that this story came from the late Mr. Arthur Hill and I have written to the present head of the firm to get this verified and also to get some additional information on the history of this cello.”
Every great musician of that era was a raconteur and I suspect that this final paragraph of the letter was just the sort of story that an Englishman might imagine would appeal to an American businessman. Wurlitzer was not able to verify the provenance and to date we have not been able to find a Royal link to this magnificent instrument.
Body length: 743 mm
Upper bout: 340 mm
Center bout: 235 mm
Lower bout: 431 mm