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A superb viola and the Mantegazza Dynasty
On December 05, 2019
by Raphael Hurwitz
Pietro Giovanni Mantegazza
As a student of the great Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi, Mantegazza had a solid foundation on which to build his violin-making family. His sons Carlo, Francesco, and Antonio were also fine makers and assisted his work until his death in 1803.⁣
He was fortunate to have become friends with Count Cozio di Salabue in 1776, the patronage affording them access to his extensive collection of fine instruments as well as steady repair work and commissions. Perhaps because Cozio was also the primary patron of G.B. Guadagnini, Pietro Giovanni seemed to have favoured the Guadagnini model in his later work.⁣

All workmanship comparatively flawless, also finest wood. Tonal quality of considerable richness, and worthy of any quartet leader. Some gloriously mellow toned violas known. - W.Henley⁣

Of his extensive work, his violas are extremely prized; always a generous size, finely proportioned and extremely comfortable under the hand. They generally produce a consistently mellow and beautiful tone with great clarity in the lower registers. The viola shown here is a prime example and was once owned and played by my late-grandmother Kay Hurwitz. I fondly remember it's gorgeous sound and rather miraculous D string! It is pictured in the book 'The Cooper Collection' Volume 1, Page 118.