1866 – 1939
Annibale Fagnola was born on 28 December 1866 in Montiglio, Casale Monferrato. He appears to have been self-taught before moving to Turin in 1894 (not 1890 as some sources state).
From this time he describes himself as a maker of musical instruments, only in 1903 does he finally describe himself in more elevated language as a liutista.
Later in life he was assisted at various periods by Riccardo Genovese, his nephew – Annibalotto Fagnola, and Stefano Fasciolo. It seems also, on occasions, he employed the services of Evasio Emilio Guerra, a pupil of Oddone’s.
His work has become regarded as some of the most important in 20th century lutherie, loved by players and collectors alike for its distinctive, strong personality. His fame was such that he was copied even in his lifetime and subsequent to his death the situation continued. In addition, lesser Turin school makers have been relabelled to elevate them to Fagnola status.
He himself made copies and imitations of Rocca and Pressenda and was careful to make a distinction between the two descriptions: copies were based on the maker’s model, while imitations attempted to duplicate details of the originals, down to their varnish, choice of materials and wear patterns.