Viola by Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, 1727, "Cassavetti" . Performing Arts Reading Room, Library of Congress.
The "Cassavetti" arrived in England through David Laurie, who sold it to Alexander Cassavetti. In 1928, the agents of department store-magnate Rodman Wanamaker of Philadelphia bought it from George Hart to add to the extraordinary ensemble being assembled by Wanamaker to play orchestral concerts in his stores. After Wanamaker's untimely death in 1929, the entire collection passed to the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company and the "Cassavetti" appeared in their 1931 catalog. It too was sold to John T. Roberts, who eventually sold it to Mrs. Whittall, joining the "Betts" with which he previously had parted.
The "Cassavetti" viola is built from the same mold (still surviving in the Stradivari museum in Cremona, Italy,) as the "Tuscan-Medici" viola though comparative measurements demonstrate the range of variation due to varying edge widths and natural distortion.
|Back Body Length:||412.2 mm||410.6 mm|
|BackWidth Upper Bout:||186.0 mm||183.0 mm|
|Middle Bout:||125.0 mm||123.0 mm|
|Lower Bout:||240.9 mm||237.0 mm|
The workmanship of the "Cassavetti" is less symmetrical with the treble f-hole higher than the bass f-hole. The scroll is not of quarter-cut maple; its grain runs at a 45-degree angle to its center axis.
Typical of the Stradivari label is the use of a separate stamp with the letters "AS" and a cross, surrounded by two concentric circles. The stamp was applied to the printed label by hand; one can see a part of this stamp on the lower corner. This might be a sign of the less than steady hand of the Stradivari who was 83 years old in 1727.