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American bass viol

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One-piece back of slab-cut maple. Ribs and neck similar. Back of pegbox finished flat with incised pattern of half circles at lower edge. Two-piece belly of wide-grain spruce. Painted purfling. Shield-shaped tuning pegs of oak or ash stained dark brown, with cone-shaped ivory buttons at ends....

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Inscription

Printed label: Baseviols / MADE AND SOLD BY / Benjamin Crehore, / IN MILTON; manuscript label: First / American Maker / about 1785; manuscript label: Repaired and par- / tially restored by / Joel R. van Lennep / Boston 1975

Provenance

Before 1925, Mr. W. Ropes; 1925, sold by Ropes to Charles L. Crehore (b. 1867) (great-grandnephew of the maker), Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts, who purchased the instrument under the advisement of Henry F. Schultz, a former employee of Elias Howe and Company, Boston. After 1925, Lucy Clarendon Crehore (b. 1871), sister of Charles L.; before 1976, by inheritance to her great-nephew, Charles Crehore Cunningham, Sr., Williamstown, Massachusetts; 1976, gift of Cunningham to the MFA. (Accession Date: April 14, 1976)

Credit Line

Gift of Charles Crehore Cunningham, Sr.

about 1800

Object Place

Milton, Massachusetts, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

G9

Dimensions

Length 121.5 cm, width 42.4 cm (Length 47 13/16 in., width 16 11/16 in.)

Accession Number

1976.156

Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony

Collections

Musical Instruments

Classifications

Musical instruments, Chordophones