Lady Blunt Stradivarius violin
The ’Lady Blunt’ Stradivarius violin is a musical instrument made in 1721 by members of the legendary House of Antonio Stradivari.
The violin is named after one of its former owners, Lady Anne Blunt. She was the daughter of Ada Lovelace and granddaughter of Lord Byron, and was an accomplished violinist. Lady Anne was a pupil of the Czech violinist Leopold Jansa, who encouraged his student’s acquisition of the violin from J.B. Vuillaume in 1864.
The instrument has only been displayed once in public, in 1954 in an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
The ownership of the instrument before this time is unknown, but since that date it has passed through the hands of many of history’s most notable collectors.
- The Nippon Music Foundation, Japan: 2008–Present
- Private Owner: 2000–2008
- Robin Loh, Singapore: 1971–2000
- Sam Bloomfield, United States: 1959–1971
- Henry Werro, Switzerland: 1941–1959
- W.E. Hill & Sons: 192?–1941
- Richard Bennett, England: 1915–192?
- J. E. Street, England: 1901–1913
- Baron Johann Knoop, England: 1896–1900
- Charles Edler, Germany: 1895–1896
- Lady Anne Blunt, England: 1864-1895
“Rarely does a Stradivarius of this quality in such pristine condition and with such significant historical provenance come up for sale. It still shows the tool-marks and brushstrokes of Stradivari. The ‘Lady Blunt’ is perhaps the best-preserved Stradivarius to be offered for sale in the past century.”
Christopher Reuning, Reuning & Son Violins, 2011
“The ‘Lady Blunt’ of 1721 is indisputably the finest violin ever to appear at auction, and is considered the second best preserved Stradivari, after the ‘Messiah’ of 1716.”
Tim Ingles, Sotheby’s, 2006
- In 1971 the instrument was sold by Sotheby’s for a then record-breaking price of $200,000.
- In 2008 it was purchased in a private sale by the current owners, the Nippon Music Foundation in Japan, for a reported $10 million.
- In May 2011 the Nippon Music Foundation announced that the violin would be sold in a charity auction, to raise money for the survivors of the tsunami and earthquakes which hit Japan in 2011. It finally sold for a price of £9.8 million at the auction organized by the musical instrument specialists Tarisio on June 20, 2011.