About the maker
Carlo Ferdinando has often been considered one of the finest instrument makers of his time, alongside Guarneri del Gesù and of course, Stradivari.
During the 17th and 18th century, a spark of immigrant craftsmen had a huge contribution to the successful schools of violinmaking and Carlo Ferdinando Landolphi was one of them.
It was in the 18th century that Landolphi arrived in Milan, likely armed with an element of training in the violinmaking craft. Early work of his indicates a Paolo Antonio Testore influence, with his instruments an undeniable outcome of Testore’s guidance.
Some of the most esteemed instruments crafted by Landolphi were during his time in Milan (1749-1758), within which it is likely he encountered G.B. Guadagnini. With an elegant and subtle technique, Guadagnini’s influence created a finer maker in Landolphi. He became educated in creating the low arching model that mirrored the Stradivari, as well as improving the quality of his finish. The varnish on each violin was also more Italian in its appearance, whilst he maintained his Germany origins with the broad purfling and axe-head shaped wings.
Landolphi never quite acquired the consistency of craft like his fellow master makers, often producing a wide-ranging output with an assortment of textures and varnishes. Although a diverse mixture, his collection of work could be united in its peculiarities; deeply trenched edges, soundholes with rounded nicks and wings spaced further across than the apex of the arm and the soundhole itself.
Landolphi’s work is a vast and varied collection of instruments, each with fluctuating degrees of detail. Some are a strong reflection of his time with Paulo Antonio Testore, whereas others portray a sophisticated type of elegance that are likely from his days with Guadagnini.
Although many of his instruments exhibit Cremonese methods of construction and intense varnishes, Landolphi’s Germanic influence is evident in the scroll, larger in diameter yet narrow.
Confident in his craft and technique, Landolphi could adapt his technique to whatever business required. Over the years, his work has been praised by solo performers for its resounding sound and powerful tone, including Hungarian violinist, Carl Flesch, who has also played the Brancaccio Stradivarius.