In 1689, both Andrea, the first of the Guarneris, and his son Giuseppe were working in the quarter known as “isola” while Andrea’s elder son Pietro (1655– 1720), violin maker and violinist, had moved to Mantova a few years earlier. Andrea had resented Pietro’s departure and in his testament dated 1692 he left Giuseppe all the tools, wood and other utensils connected with the craft of the lute maker, violin maker and guitar maker (…) in consideration of his having been obedient and not having abandoned him. This rewarded Giuseppe for his faithfulness: his son, in return, would always mention his father on the labels of his own instruments, becoming known as “Giuseppe son of Andrea”. It was the practice in Cremonese workshops to write the father’s name on the labels until the time of his death even though the instruments were actually made by one of the sons. Consequently, it is no surprise to find the inscription “Andreas Guarnerius fecit Cremonæ sub/Titulo Sanctæ Teresiæ 1689” on the Quarestani label, although the violin had been constructed by Andrea’s son. Giuseppe made instruments until the 1730s when a serious illness prevented him from continuing his work: the last Guarneri makers to take over the family profession were his sons Pietro (1695-1762), who moved to Venice, and Bartolomeo Giuseppe nicknamed Del Gesù. The labels of Andrea, Pietro “of Mantova” and Giuseppe all bear the inscription “sub tit. Sanctæ Teresiæ” referring to Santa Teresa, reformer of the Carmelites, and hence to the local convent of this order annexed to the church of S. Imerio in Cremona. Were the Carmelites patrons of the Guarneris? This interesting theory has been suggested recently; if this was the case, it would come as no surprise that Andrea chose to draw up his testament in the Carmelites’convent.
Nothing is known about the history of this instrument first recovered in Italy during the 1980s. It is only evident that an unskilled hand enlarged the f-holes altering forever the formal and stylistic balance of the top plate.
Andreas Guarnerius fecit Cremonæ sub / Titulo Sanctæ Teresiæ 1689
John & Arthur Beare, London, July 5, 1985
Purchsed by the town of Cremona in 2003