Cremona, 1669. A few years earlier, Antonio Stradivari had married Francesca Ferraboschi and the young couple was living in Pescaroli’s house in the parish of S. Agata; the house can still be seen today while the second one he bought in 1680 was demolished in the 1930s. The Clisbee is one of the first instruments made by the great luthier when the town’s violin making scene was represented by the experienced master Nicolò
Amati as well as by Andrea Guarneri and Francesco Rugeri. Stradivari’s debut completed this undoubtedly new and extraordinary period for Cremonese violin making: after the Amati’s workshop had been the only one in town for more than a hundred years, other productive craftsmen were now at work. This period of growth and blend would continue until the early 18th century, when the situation would slowly begin to change and lead to the difficult state of affair marking the second half of the century. The violin fully shows the influence of the Cremonese style of those years: a narrow body, edge and corners suggesting lightness as does the overall appearance of the instrument. The comparison with the Cremonese, built more than forty years later, illustrates the innovative path of the great master, from smallsized violins to the larger instruments he made in the 18th century which show a broader soundbox, f-holes further apart and a style conveying more strength and robustness. The material selected for making the instrument is not the beautiful maple he used at the peak of his career but a local variety, a choice that also characterizes other instruments he made in his earliest years. The Clisbee was named after Mrs Clisbee - a pupil of Andreas Moser, second violin of the Joachim Quartet -
who bought it in 1899. After changing hands several times, at the end of the last century it became part of the collection owned by Evelyn and Herbert Axelrod who then donated it to the town of Cremona in 2003.
Antonius Stradiuarius Cremonensis / Faciebat Anno 1669
Emil Hermann, New York, September 22 , 1948
William Lewis and Son, Chicago, September 26, 1966
Dietmar Machold , Zurich, November 12, 1992
Donated by Evelyn and Herbert Axelrod to the town of Cremona in 2003