I'm trying to find out the history of my girlfriends violin. It is a 1861 Vuillaume. I have a certificate from 1958 from William Lewis and son in Chicago and a 1963 'Gutachten' from Alfred Leicht in Berlin, Germany.
Is it possible to find out who the previous owners were before it was bought by my girlfriend?
In general, how do you trace the past of a violin? Where to start? Tips welcome!
Well.. As violins rarely have serial numbers finding who owned specific instruments from the same makers is possible but "going" further than who she bought it from or where ..... it is unlikely. But then who knows .....
In general, you trace a violin's past by the paperwork that came with it. Absent that, it is usually not possible. A recently made fiddle might be traced by oral history, but not likely with one more than about 50 years old. And since most labels are fake, even a serial number would not help.