There are some special people in the collectors' world who care a great deal about the preservation of the great violins. These are the violin collectors. The violin holds not only monetary appeal but also
great history. It takes someone special to be willing to put his investments into violins. The price of a great Stradivari or Guarneri violin is beyond the budget of the general public.
One of these men was David Laurie. David was born in 1833 in Netherton, Kinross-shire Scotland. He was an only son.
He married and had six children with his first wife and then after her death married again and had twelve more children.
His vocation was oil merchant and his hobby was fiddle collecting. This soon changed to his hobby becoming his livelihood.
David Laurie was an accomplished violinist, and played the Alard Strad(1715, bought in Florence in the 19th century by a banker in Belgium and then passed to J. B. Vuillume in Paris who gave it to his son-in-law M. Delphin Alard a professor
of violin at the Paris Conservatory. When Alard retired in 1876 David Laurie bought the violin.) He was once offered $$2,000 for the Alard but refused
and the King Joseph Guarnerius(was in the collection of James Goding, When he died it was sold to
Vicomte de Janze and then to David Laurie), both in his possession.
He conducted his business from his home 36 Lansdowne Cresent, Glasgow.
David Laurie died in 1897 in Brussels.
There is a wonderful book written by David Laurie on his Reminiscences.
Reminiscences of a Fiddle Dealer by David Laurie. It has been published three times. The first edition is c. 1900, but undated, and
the 2nd edition is 1925, the third edition was published in 1977 by Harolod M. Chaitman. They are almost impossible to find to purchase. Plan to pay at least $50-$250. However they can be found through interlibrary loan.
Excerpt from Reminiscences of a Fiddle Dealer by David Laurie - Chapter XVII - I will now relate the purchase and sale of a grand Stradivarius violin, which while giving me a good deal of trouble one way and another, also brought
me fame as a reliable expert. To be a good expert requires three important gifts, which must be inborn and yet
require to be developed with much study. these three gifts are an unerring eye, a good memory, and a good ear. There first two are absolutely essential to distinguish the work of different makers, and also the work of the same maker
in instruments of widely different appearance and of different periods of his life. Instruments by the same maker have invariably certain characteristics of his handiwork, which while unnoticed by ordinary folk,reveal them at once to the expert. The third gift is not considered by any means necessary to the making of an expert, yet I think I am justified in saying that a good ear plays an
important part in the work and is a valuable gift, which ought to be cultivated and developed to its utmost,
if it were for nothing else than to be able to distinguish one tone from another and to decide which has the best carrying power
and which is in most repute with the majority of musical folk, artistes and amateurs alike. For after all, to the great majority of concert-goers the tone of a violin is the most important part of it, and they neither know nor care who the maker is so long as the
player delights them with its music. In this purchase which I am about to relate I put my ear to a severe test
in judging whether a fiddle was likely to be worth purchasing or not and it did not fail me.
This book is a delight to read and I recommend it highly. It is small and has only 171 pages. The 1900 and 1925 editions have picture plates of violins. The newer book does not. I borrowed the 1925 edition through inter-library loan and then after I had read it I purchased the 1977 edition from David Sanders at Montagnana.
I wish , upon a star .....I had one of the old original ones. I have been unable to find one I can afford.