The “Paganini, Countess of Stainlein”
Stradivari Violoncello of 1707
by Christopher Reuning
This magnificent violoncello is one of only 17 extant, non composite instruments Stradivari built on his definitive “forma B” model. It was made in the first recorded year Stradivari used the forma B so, as such, may be considered the master’s first solo cello. The back, ribs, and head are made from matching maple with bold, attractive flames. This instrument is, to our knowledge, the first maple Stradivari of this type to be offered for sale in 13 years.
The cello’s impressive provenance can be traced back to before 1816 when it was owned by Antonio Merighi who lived in Milan, less than 100 kilometers from where the cello was crafted. In 1839 the cello was purchased by Nicolò Paganini where it completed his famous string quartet of Stradivari instruments. The cello passed through the hands of just three more owners and their heirs until it became the constant companion of Mr. Bernard Greenhouse more than 100 years later.
Mr. Greenhouse purchased the cello directly from the Talbot family in Aachen, Germany in 1957. It was his primary cello during a long and illustrious career that ended with his death in May 2011.
The “Paganini,Countess of Stainlein” is widely regarded as one of the finest sounding cellos in existence, perhaps best described by Mr. Greenhouse himself,