Viola da gamba Bass

Nikolaus Leidolff, Vienna, 1695

Catalog 105. Viola da gamba, bass, Nikolaus Leidolff, Vienna, 1695

Nicolaus Leidolff

Born near Milano around 1650, Nicolaus Leidolff first learned violin-making in Italy. After traveling as an apprentice in Italy and Switzerland, he settled down in Vienna, initially employed by Isaak Ott, one of the many luthiers from Füssen who established himself in Vienna. As was the custom of the times, Nicolaus Leidolff married the widow of his employer upon his death in 1672, taking over his master’s workshop. The high quality of his workmanship and the excellent sound of his instruments very soon won him an international reputation far beyond the borders of the Habsburg Empire.

His son, Johann Christoph and his grandson, Joseph Ferdinand, carried on the family tradition to the end of the 18th C.

The present bass viola da gamba retains the original head, in for of a faun, with foliage instead of hair, and a beautiful filigran rosette. The design of its outline is one of the most beautiful in the collection. Very obvioulsy the maker lavished loving care in the making of this instrument, perhaps destined for someone as appreciative as Emperor Leopold I, himself a viola da gamba player, who fostered this instrument and its music at the Imperial Court.

José Vázquez at the concert at the Castle of Kremsegg,
June, 2008, with the viol by Nikolas Leidloff

Body length 664 mm
Upper width
300 mm
Middle width 208 mm
Lower width 364 mm
Rib height 120  mm
String length 700 mm