When observing this violin by Ercole Foderà, the first thing that stands out is the rather thin, but beautifully coloured, orange/red varnish that has slightly penetrated the wood.
This is because the ground was not sealed carefully enough, but rather a lighter colour of varnish of a more yellow colour was substituted in its place. One can easily observe the pores of the wood, which are almost still open and have simply been covered by this yellow varnish that also served as its pore filler, and was coated atop in a more orange-coloured varnish. This violin is indeed in very fine condition and has never been over polished, retouched, or over varnished, allowing us to still see the surface structure, and to observe how the colour varnish seeped and settled into the wood. You can see this, for example, in areas where the varnish has faded away slightly, such as at the transition between the scroll pegbox and the neck.
The whole violin has tidy, relatively clean and secure work. The volute of the scroll, for example, is very carefully carved in the style of Stradivari with a beautiful strong chamfer and a very secure volute that opens up equally. When observing throughout the turns, the eye is placed optically in the centre by allowing more space on the side of the back of the pegbox, which is equal to the amount of space in the front of the volute.
The chamfer is carefully cut all the way into the centre of the eye and not just simply rounded off. When one looks at the reverse of the pegbox, the spine is very carefully carved sharply, and also at the end where the spine meets the semicircle one can notice a slight hint of a centre mark. Additionally, one can notice that the carving has allowed the spine to end in a sharp manner rather than in a rounded off way like other makers, and likewise into the throat the scroll is also carved carefully and exactly with a sharp chamfer and spine.
The corners of the back and front are slightly on the short side, somewhat blunt, and the purfling mitres lack of an elegant bee sting. Instead they are a little bluntly joined together, which do not always meet in the most elegant way on the table. The mitres arrive from the bouts and then, quite obviously, the maker ran out of space and just tidied them up. Sadly, this detracts a little from what could have been a particularly elegant mitre. The f holes are quite beautiful in shape, and are again based on a Stradivari model with relatively large and sharp nicks. However, the berries are slightly ovular and probably not drilled but instead cut completely with a saw. Coming back to the edgework, the chamfer of the edge is on the outer third, a typical, traditional feature like most Italian makers where it is not rounded too much and left relatively pointed, without a very deep channel. The choice of wood is quite typical for southern Italy at that time so it might have come from similar wood sources as other makers that built violins in southern Italy where this wood would not have grown. This wood is interestingly flamed, with a half slab-cut back with very irregular grain. The table on the other hand is very fine in the centre. It is a two-piece front with the grain quickly opening out relatively widely at the flanks. The arching is flat across with a not too deep and wide channel, quite modern in taste, and made to work well based upon the kind of Stradivari arching.