Sotheby's Australia
31

A violin by Leandro Bisiach Snr (1864-1946), used by Russell Crowe as the character 'Captain Jack Aubrey' in the film, Master and Commander (2003), Milan, dated 1890

Estimate $110,000 - $140,000

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the back of two pieces of maple of irregular horizontal figure, the ribs of similar wood, the scroll of narrower figure, the front of two pieces of spruce of fine grain in the centre, broadening towards the flanks, the varnish of an orange-brown colour, labelled 'Leandro Bisiach della Scuola Cremonese fece in Milano 1890, Piazza del Duomo', signed by the maker on the label, and further labelled 'Copia Andrea Guarneri', together with a Baroque style bow of modern manufacture
violin length of back 35.5 cm (14in.), bow 62 grams

Accompanied by a copy of a certificate from Jacques Français, New York, dated 22nd April 1999
Accompanied by a copy of a certificate from Vita Dolce Violins, Los Angeles, dated 15th July 2002, together with a copy of a valuation dated 12th July, both made out to Russell Crowe
Accompanied by a letter from Russell Crowe stating his ownership.

  • Lot Sold $135,000 (Hammer Price)
  • $164,700 (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)

Provenance

Private Collection, Pennsylvania
Vita Dolce Violins, Los Angeles
Mr Russell Crowe, Sydney, acquired from the above in 2002

'At the beginning of the Master & Commander shoot in Rosarito, Mexico, the props department handed me a dark and heavy German violin to use in the movie. It was my thought that the Captain (Jack Aubrey), as gruff as he may be, would play a finer instrument. Peter Weir, (the director), agreed with me, but the film's budget couldn't take the extra cost. So I had my friend, Richard Tognetti, (from the Australian Chamber Orchestra), and my violin teacher, Robert Greene, try to track down something more suitable. They found me this beautiful Leandro Bisiach (made in Milan in 1890). Though it was a later piece than the time period of the film, the fact that it was in the style of Guarneri meant that it was a shape and style that Aubrey would have purchased. This is a serious concert level violin with a beautiful tone. It comes with a faux-Baroque bow, which was also used in the film. Also included is a piece of silk that the Captain draped under his chin when he played it.' Russell Crowe

We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Tim Ingles in the cataloguing and research of this instrument.

Show Catalogue Notes

Catalogue Notes

Leandro Bisiach Snr was one of the leading Italian violin makers of the early 20th century. The two main centres of violin making in Italy at that time were Turin and Milan, and Bisiach's was the leading Milanese workshop. He employed many of the most gifted local makers, including Gaetano Sgarabotto, Giuseppe Ornati, Ferdinando Garimberti and Igino Sderci. Bisiach's work was inspired by the old Italian masters, primarily Stradivari, Amati and Guarneri, and he often used 17th and 18th century wood for his instruments. This violin is a copy of an Andrea Guarneri, who was working in Cremona at the same time as Stradivari, circa 1650-1698.

'At the beginning of the Master and Commander shoot, the props department handed me a heavy and dark German violin to use in the movie. It was my thought that the Captain (Jack Aubrey), as gruff as he may be, would play a finer instrument. Peter Weir, (the director), agreed with me, but the film's budget couldn't take the extra cost, so I had my friend, Richard Tognetti, (from the Australian Chamber Orchestra), track down something more suitable. He found me this beautiful Leandro Bisiach, made in Milan in 1890. Though it was a later piece than the time period of the movie, the fact that it was in the style of Guarneri meant that it was a shape and style that the Captain could have purchased.

'This is a serious concert level violin. It comes with a piece of silk that Captain Aubrey would have under his chin when he played it.' Russell Crowe

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Russell Crowe: The Art of Divorce

AU0822  | 7 Apr 2018  | Sydney
6 pm


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