Silver-gilt mounted malachite miniature viola d'amore


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This beautiful miniature viola d’amore—a Baroque period instrument similar to the present-day viola—is crafted from malachite mounted with silver, and silver-gilt, elements.

The front and rear faces of the waisted body are inset with pieces of veined malachite, while the sides of the viola’s body are finished with wonderfully stippled, raised, and parcel gilt silver geometrical motifs. The front malachite surface is mounted with a parcel gilt tailpiece and an ornately pierced silver-gilt bridge. The fingerboard of the viola, as well as its neck, is crafted from silver-gilt, while the front surface is parcel gilt with raised geometrical rectilinear motifs. The neck terminates in a scrolled pegbox, culminating in a classical head-form silver-gilt finial.

The viola is supported by a stand, comprised of a malachite base with canted and chamfered corners. The base is topped by a silver-gilt viola support, which is crescent in form and intricately scrolled and pierced.

The reverse of the neck is stamped with ‘800’, which signifies 80% silver, as well as an indistinct maker’s mark.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Malachite, Silver, Silver-gilt
Gold, Green, Silver


18 cm / 7.1 inches
6 cm / 2.4 inches
9 cm / 3.5 inches


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