The PBV team of Dana, Kathrin, Mandy and Philip hope that you are all well and making good use of your time. We have come up with a self Isolation scheme that keeps the business running smoothly. We are sending out instruments and bows via our...

The Violin By Annibalotto Fagnola

A Rare Violin by Annibalotto Fagnola circa 1930


A lot is known about the life and works of the great Turin violin maker Annibale Fagnola, but less well-known is his apprentice and nephew. Sharing the name of his Uncle was obviously confusing so Young Anibale was affectionately re-named Annibalotto. He was born in Turin in 1910 to one of Annibale’s younger brothers Marcello. Annibalotto seemed to have had good innate craft skills and progressed quickly at his uncle’s workshop, and there were high hopes of him to further the violin-making dynasty. However, it appears that he became a violin maker more to please his father and his uncle than himself.

At the age of 18 Anibalotto already showed himself to be a good maker, and his work displayed many of the traits of the Turin School. However his output was sporadic due to his calling up at the age of 20 for three years’ military service, followed by a further year in 1935.

Little is known about Annibalotto’s life between 1936 to 1939. Following Annibale Fagnola’s death in 1939, Annibalotto and his father struggled to keep the business going but sadly were unable to do so. A combination of issues including a lack of experience, difficult times, and the impending war rendered the task too great, and the Fagnola family lutherie was brought to an end.

The violin we are offering here is most rewarding to play. It is a powerful instrument with a strong, yet silky, smooth tone, and is easy to play while still having a large array of tonal and dynamic colours.

There are plenty of the Fagnola family traits in this violin, but the Model seems to be somewhat broader across the middle bouts than the typical Fagnola design. The work is free flowing, fast and more confident than his earlier work, and some tool marks are visible (see photos). The varnish is good, not brittle, transparent, and of a handsome orange-brown colour on a bright ground (I don’t think there is any ground layer). I love the fact that it appears to have been varnished in one quick, thick, coat with no surface prep at all; just chisels, scrapers then varnish! Drips have formed in places, and there are a few burst air bubbles (see photos). It is said that Annibalotto was proud to have developed his own style of f holes, but for me these are very much in the Turin mould, with their large wings reminiscent of Guadagnini in style. The arching is fairly classical  with no surprises and the bottom rib has the trademark Turin purfling strip in the joint. The scroll carries many of the features of his uncle, and looking at his templates (which one would suppose Annibalotto would have used) I may have suggestions as to why there is an almost uncomfortable irregularity about the pegbox outline:

1) The card profile templates they used were in two sections with the first coming up to, but not including the volute, and as a result the second smaller volute template could easily be misaligned, leading to the asymmetry of the “ears” of the scroll; and

2) There’s some evidence that the bevelling of the pegbox/scroll is done right at the end of the carving process unlike the Cremonese method which starts with the bevelling, this not only leaves the central spine standing higher than the outer edges, sometimes creates an ill defined profile. The central scribe line seen in his uncle’s work is present here and there appears to be a regular series of pin pricks deep in the volute – I don’t know why. The scroll has blackened edge as was the norm in Turin…




Certificate of Bernard Millant.

Further Reading:

Liuteria Italiana volume IV by Eric Blot ISBN 88-88360-01-8

Annibale Fagnola by G. Accornero, I. Epicoco and E. Guerci Edizioni Il Salubue  ISBN 88-87618-01-1

A video will be uploaded shortly.


Kathrin Repairs A Broken Violin

Kathrin Repairs A Broken Violin When one of our customers was on tour last year she fell through a faulty step on her way up to the stage.  Luckily she wasn’t hurt but unfortunately it was her violin that broke her fall. Here is how Kathrin...




It is always favourable to make an appointment with us for the following reasons:

Bow-Rehairs – This helps Philip when planning which days in the week he can keep aside to re-hair bows.  Sometimes Philip can re-hair your bow while you wait, in which case an appointment is essential.

To View An Instrument or Bow with a view to buying – this gives us time to tune a selection of instruments within your price range.  It also means that we can make sure that we have space available for you to play the instrument and would only book one customer at a time.

Valuing an Instrument – Philip carries out our valuations so we would need to book you in on a day that he is here!  This saves you a wasted journey.

Job Vacancy – Workshop Technician

Senior Violin Workshop Technician

Based at: 63 Cheap St, Newbury, Berkshire, UK  RG14 5DH
Full time position available from April 2020.
The technician reports to business owner: Philip Brown
All applications are held in the strictest of confidence, to be submitted  by Friday 28th February 2020 and sent to

Key Requirements

Self motivated, reliable individual wishing to be part of a strong, small team.

At least 3 years technical experience in a violin workshop

Experience of managing customer expectations.

Excellent verbal & written communication skills

Good attention to detail and able to follow workshop procedures.

Able to take sole responsibility when required.

Enjoys a challenge and is open to development opportunities.


Key areas of responsibility

Restoration work to restore antique instruments.

Repair and maintenance of violins, cellos and bows to a high standard

Setting up stock;  bridge cutting; post cutting; finger board dressing, making new nuts, fitting new pegs, crack repairs and some long term projects.


Customer service

Helping customers to choose the right instruments.

Taking in and processing customer repairs

Dealing with telephone enquiries and queries.

Follow up calls and invoicing.


General duties as a team member

Attending weekly team meetings to review progress & plan the week ahead.

Following workshop procedures including, security.

Opening up the workshop and preparing the premises for customers.

Closing the workshop and leaving the place clean and tidy.

Occasional tea making and light lunch preparation.

Taking a turn do to the washing up!


Salary is negotiable and commensurate with experience. Statutory benefits include pension enrolment, 28 days holiday including bank holidays and the right to request flexible working.  Non statutory benefits include development and training opportunities and bi annual reviews with the business owner.

Hours  – 40 hours per week over 5 days on a bi weekly rota. Week A Mon-Friday 9am-5pm. Week B Tues- Saturday 9am-5pm.

If you are interested, please send your CV to:

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