The Makers

Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi (Landolphi)

c1710-14 - 1784

Books on violinmakers are notoriously unreliable and the internet has made the spread of misinformation even worse. A brief scan of sources on Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi (Landolphi) are a good example of this.

We read he was born in Milan or alternatively in Germany, in 1710 or alternatively c.1714, he underwent an apprenticeship in Cremona or alternatively had some early training in Germany, he returned to Milan in 1734 and set up his own workshop or alternatively did not start violin making until the mid 18th century.

If we consider the work we can perhaps suggest the likely truth behind these confusions. His earliest instruments suggest a connection with Paolo Antonio Testore. Many instruments from around1749 onwards indicate the influence of G.B. Guadagnini generally exhibiting as they do a lower arching and a higher standard of finish and varnish. His violins vary in quality and design but a number of Germanic traits are fairly constant: the F hole eyes pushing out from the stems with axe-head style wings and large, rounded notches; the broad purfling in a deeply cut valley; the large head, yet narrow pegbox.

Violins from the later part of his career can show the hand of his son, Pietro Antonio, c.1730-1795. One thing generally agreed on is the quality of sound Landolfi’s violins can produce, in this respect they are considered by performers and dealers worldwide to be in the top flight of concert instruments.

our listings

Carlo Ferdinando Landolfi (Landolphi)