A sale open to the public, in line with current rules, exceptional instruments from the string quartet by Gagliano, Tourte and Pajeot, caused a sensation.
Cello by Gennaro Gagliano, made in Naples, probably in 1756, with the label of Janarius Gagliano, 747 mm/2.45 ft.
A cello dated 1756 in remarkable condition was presented at this sale: the work of legendary Italian violin-maker Gennaro Gagliano. The 747 mm-long (2.45 ft-long) instrument magnificently illustrates the work of this member of a famous Neapolitan dynasty, and to boot once belonged to British cello virtuoso (and conductor) John Barbirolli (1899-1970). A result of €868,000 was swiftly achieved, topping the high estimate. The event was also an occasion to pay tribute to François Xavier Tourte, one of the greatest French bow-makers, with impressive results for no fewer than six high-quality bows: an exceptional group tracing the evolution of the innovations introduced by this expert, famous as the inventor of the modern bow. To start with, a silver and ivory-mounted violin bow of c. 1775, weighing 53 g (1.86 oz), without bow hair, garnered €179,800. It was followed by a silver-mounted cello bow made in around 1790, signed, weighing 70.5 g (2.48 oz.), with bow hair, which fetched €166,160. Finally, again for the large instrument, a silver-mounted bow stick from around 1820, signed, weighing 71.5 g (2.52 oz), with hair, went for €73,160. Other famous violin- and bow-makers put on a fine performance at this concert, including Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume with an extremely fine violin that resonated at €200,880, and Etienne Pajeot, an illustrious luthier of the Romantic period, whose violin bow inspired a battle between two collectors up to €68,200.