THE finest viola in existence. The ‘Macdonald’ Viola by Antonio Stradivari (1644 – 1737) – will be offered in a sealed bid process this spring by Sotheby’s and Ingles & Hayday. The maker Stradivari has become synonymous with perfection in the field of musical instruments. The ‘Macdonald’ of 1719 is one of only two violas made during Stradivari’s ‘Golden Period’ (1700 – 1720), which saw the production of his finest instruments.
A Stradivari viola is the ultimate prize for collectors. These violas are the rarest of all. Only ten survive. His output during a long career included 600 violins and 50 cellos. In terms of condition, beauty of appearance and playing quality, the ‘Macdonald’ is without peer. The viola will be offered through a sealed bid process, with bids expected in excess of US$45 million.
The ‘Macdonald’ viola was purchased for Peter Schidlof of the Amadeus Quartet in 1964 and is being offered for sale by the family of the late musician, who died in 1987. The ‘Macdonald’ has a long documented history, passing through the hands of many titled owners. It was purchased by Godfrey Bosville, the 3rd Baron Macdonald – from whom its names derives – in the 1820s.
Below is a link to a video which features rising star violinist David Aaron Carpenter performing on the Macdonald viola.