7. An inventory of 1896 of the Salabue-Dalla Valle Collection

The Marquis Alessandro dalla Valle (1849-1905), after the death of his father Giuseppe Rolando (22 February 22nd, 1891), inherited Ignazio Alessandro Cozio di Salabue's (1755-1840) luthiery collection and five years later he tried to sell it in the United States and entrusted antiquarian Godfrey Kopp, who owned an antique shop in Piazza Navona in Rome, with it.

Stewart Pollens reported that in 2010,[1] revealing the existence of a letter, kept in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York), wrote by the antiquarian of Rome to Mrs. (sic) John Crosby Brown of Brighthurst, Orange Mountain, New Jersey.[2]

However, the name of the recipient is that of the banker John Crosby Brown, who was partner of the Brown Bros. & Co investment bank of New York and married to Mary Elizabeth Adams Brown (1842 - 1918), famous writer and collector, known for her collection of musical instruments that she named after her husnabd and gave to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1884. The donation originally included 44 instruments, but due to the clause that she and her son could add and replace the pieces of the collection with items of the same value and higher quality, little by little the collection was enriched with ethnic instruments from the Far East, the Middle East, Africa and the Pacific Islands. When Mary Adams died, it filled 5 halls of the Metropolitan Museum with more than 3000 items and when her son died, the collection reached 4000 items.

It is evident that the Roman antiquarian, who adressed the receipient as “Mrs”, wasn't making his offer to John Crosby Brown but to his wife Mary Elisabeth Adams who refused to buy the collection, which the Dalla Valle family kept until Giuseppe Fiorini bought it in 1920.

Pollens don't mention the “descriptive list” of the Dalla Valle Collection which is attached to the letter. It is somewhat imprecise but still important because any specific inventory of the collection was made neither when Giuseppe Fiorini bought it in 1920, nor when they sold it to the City of Cremona in 1930. Therefore, the 1896 inventory represents an essential source that, combined with the already known documents, can help the studies both of the collection of Stradivari items and of the Carteggio Cozio di Salabue, although some objects are difficult to identify.

A copy of the two-page letter is shown below:

Godfrey Kopp                                                                                     20, Piazza di Spagna

Tableaux, Marbres, Bronzes                                                                Rome, 25 Nov 1896

Galleries privées d’Antiquites

Commission & Exportation.


Mrs John Crosby Brown


             Orange, NJ


             some time ago I had a letter addressed to me by Mr Thatcher M. Adams, in which he asked me to send you particulars of the utensils used by Stradivarius in the manufacture of his celebrated instruments and also of some other authentic and valuable instruments.

I regret that owing to my absence from Rome this has been so long delayed, and I now enclose a separate descriptive list. I beg to note that every guarantee can be given by the present owner of the utensils, of their authenticity, he being in possession of the receipt for same, given by the son of Stradivarius who disposed of them.

The prices for the entire collection is 50.000 dollars.

The prices for the separate violins is not yet fixed, but I can let you know if you desire.

Kindly note that in addition to these I am charged to sell a “Terzetto” by Stradivarius [p. 2] consisting of 2 Violins and a Viola made for the Duke of Parma also with Documents and an original parchment which prove the donation of the same. These three instruments are in an excellent state of preservation. Each Violins bears the signature of Stradivarius, his monogram and the number of the violin, while the Arms of the Duke with date are engraved on ivory on the stringboard.

The price of these three instruments is 20,000 dollars.

I shall be glad to give you any further particulars about them which you may desire and I beg to inform you they have never before been offered for sale to anyone.

All these are worthy of your attention and would very much enrich your already famous collection.

I shall be thankfull to you for an early reply so that I may offer then elsewhere in the event of your not being desirous of acquiring them.

Should there be anything else you may wish in the way of instruments, etc. to complete your collection, I should be very pleased to try to find it for you.

                                                                               I remain, Madam

                                                                             Yours very respectifully

                                                                                  Godfrey Kopp

Below are the 8 pages of the inventory:

Acronyms for relics: MS = Museo Stradivariano, now in the Cremona Museo del Violino; Ms. Cozio 94 / (Cozio Manuscripts), today at the Biblioteca Statale e Libreria Civica of Cremona[3]

[p. 3]

                                   Professional Articles

formerly belonging to the celebrated Antonius Stradivarius and sold by his son Paul, as can be proved by his original letters.


                             Stamps in Wood

N° 1.                   Form of 20th September 1703 [MS 39][4]

     2                       “     “ 4th October 1690 of a Viola made for the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Florence) [MS 229 ?]

.....3                       “     “ 9th November 1691 [MS 28][5]

     4                       “       (without date)

     5                           “   “ 25th February 1705 [MS 44][6]

     6                           “   “ 6th December 1692 (reproduced in 1736 at the age of 92) [MS 38][7]

     7                          ”   “ 3th June 1692 [MS 33][8] Six form without dates

     13bis                   New Form made expressly for the Contralto for the Grand Duke of Tuscany (Florence) 4th October 1690 [MS 205][9]

     14bis 15bis           Two Forms

     16bis                  Form for small violin [MS 54 ?]

[p. 4]

                             Other Articles    

     15                    Design and Model of Lock for Case [MS 529/600][10]

     16                    Small case of 1716 containing Models for Violins and Violoncellos and other small interesting articles [MS 709]

     17                    Eyes (or ƒƒ) for violins [MS 852 ? MS 853 ?– Ms. Cozio 94/2]

     18                    Exact measure for the “eyes” for Contralto made expressly for the Grand Duke of Tuscany 4. October 1690.[MS 210/212][11]

     19                   Measures for the handrest, eyes, corners, bridge and tail piece for the Contralto or small Viola made expressly for the Grand Duke of Tuscany on the form C.V. [MS 731][12]

     20                   Measures (upper and under) for Tenor or large Viola made same Grand Duke on the form T.V. [MS 727 ?][13]

     21                   Original inscriptions for the Violins

     22                   Models of fluting

     23                   Small “rabotto”

     24                   Model for the Plugs

     25                   Rules for placing the ƒƒ of Violins Violas and Violoncellos[14]

[p. 5]

N° 26                  Models for the Viola of Gamba made for the Countess Christina Visconti with Violoncello “curls” at the eyes [MS 256-258-728][15]

    27                  Designs made for the Marquis Carbonelli of Mantua [MS 605-1260][16]

    28                  Model of the “Viola of Love” of 12 strings made in January of leap year 1716 [MS 725 ?][17]

    29                  Designs for the inlaid work on violins Violoncellos and other instruments including that for the instruments of the Grand Duke of Tuscany. [Ms. Cozio 94/1][18]

    30                  Model of Cases for the Concert Instruments sent to the Grand Duke of Tuscany 24th June 1684 [MS 606][19]

    31                 Models for Violin String rests (tailpieces) [MS 792 ?]

    32                 Measures for Bow flutings.

    33                 Wooden Stamps for arabesques [MS 525/527][20]

    33bis              Pieces of Mather of pearl worked in figures and arabesques for Violins [MS 906-907-908-909-1252-1253]

    34bis              Small form for Violin with relative stamp in paper [MS 153-166][21]

[p. 6]

N° 35                Small mechanism for string holders of Violins and very small square[22]

     36                Violin Bow

                         Various tools of Stradivarius M.S.S, Documents, and Letters of Paul and Antonius Stradivarius, Count Ignatius Cozio of Salabue and others, besides various articles formely belonging to Nicola Amati, Bergonzio and Guadagnini.

N.B. The Nos here repeated will be found among thore on the blue casabanco and not in the glass case of Stradivarius

    31                Rule with measure belonging to Nicola Amati

    32                Original Cards printed by Amati, Guadagnini, Ruggeri, Gatto (1659), Guarneri, Bergonzio, Del Gaetano, Lorenzini, Martini, Santa, ecc.

    33                Original Cards printed by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini

    34                Wooden Stamps made by the maker Merighi of Milan in 1804 on the Violin of Stradivarius of 1710.


N° 35               Measures taken on various instruments of Stradivarius, Amati, and Guadagnini[23]

     36               Notes of measures taken on instruments of Gran[c]ino and Guarneri

     36bis            Measures taken on a Violin of Nicola Amati of 1654 large size

     37               Measures taken on 2 Violas of Stradivarius

     38                  Other measures of Instruments by other makers

     39                  Sketch of a Violin of Joseph Guarneri

     40                  Model of fluting for Violoncello of old makers

     41                  Pamphlet of M.S. notes relating to the instruments of the most favourite makers

     42                  Model for fluting of Violoncello (1696) of Stradivarius (v. The Stradivarius Glass Case)

     43                  Design of a Violin of Stradivarius recovered by the maker Mantegazza

     44                  Notes on a Violoncello of Stradivarius

     45                  Measures taken on a Viola of Amati of 1577

[p. 7]

N° 46                  Pamphlet of Notes on celebrated Cremonese makers (Perhaps this was joined to N° 63)

     47                  Models of a “Viola of Love” of 12 strings [MS 725][24]

     48                  Note of Stradivarius to Martini

     49                      “   of Merighi to Guadagnini

     50                      “   by Guadagnini sent by Count Cozio to Francis Rogeri

     51                  Notes on the elements of Music by Francis Galeazzi,[25] Pindmontese, relating to the Violin Art (M.S. year 1823)[26]

     52                  Notes and correspondence on the Violins deposited in Milan by the late Count Cozio, and indications of the prices of some otne violins formerly belonging to the same.[27]

     53                  Correspondence with the merchant Paul Stradivarius, son of the celebrated Prof, Antonius, and brother of Francis, and with Antonius son of the above mentioned Paul.[28]

[p. 8]

N° 54                  (Year 1780) “Extrait Histoire ancienne et modern des Rebecs – Violins, Bas[s]es et Violoncellos” (M.S.)[29]

     55                  (Years 1804-1805) Notes on the construction and adaptation of Stringed Instruments, by Count Cozio of Salabue.[30]

     56                  (1822) First observations on the contents of the book “Memoire sur la construction des Instruments à cordes et à archet” by Count Cozio of Salabue. [31]

     57                  (1800.1805 Vide n° 41 blue) “Specifications of the best makes of instruments of the times in which they worked, taken from original tickets seen by me Count Cozio, in the instruments registered in my Memoirs”. Very interesting).[32]

     58                  (1804.1810) Notes of Instruments, of Makers, and of Professors (Count Cozio)[33]

     59                  (1816) Additional Notes on Instruments by Count Cozio.[34]

[p. 9]

N° 60                  Various Letters of Paul and Antonius Stradivarius and of Padre Gavizza (sic) to certified by Antonius Stradivarius junior (very interesting)[35]

     61                  (1808) Inventory of violins formerly possessed by Count Cozio di Salabue with the relative estimated prices at the date (very interesting).[36]

     62                  (1804) Letters from Count Cozio to Giovanni Antonio Marche (sic), maker of Stringed Instruments ad Bologna, and to Count Maggi, at Cremona about violin varnish. (N.B, In his notes Count Cozio gives the recipes for the varnish used by Stradivarius and other makers.)[37]

     63                  (1816) “Notes by Count Cozio to serve do a dissertation on the knowledge of Stringed Instruments of the Various Italian Schools and more especially of the most celebrated Cremonese makers.”[38] Beside various other papers.

[p 10 – the following page, in the online document of the MMA in New York, is placed at n. 3 but the position given here seems more logical]

Nos. 64.65.66.        Stamps in wood of Cozimo Bergonzio [MS 1060-1065] and Antonius Guadagnini [MS 1066]


Besides the collection of Documents, Models, Designes, Stamps, Tools, etc. above mentioned the Marquis Alessandro dalla Valle di Pomaro possesses, by right of heredity, also precius and authentic Instruments.

1. Violin of Nicola Amati 1668. This Violin was called the “Jewel of Amati” and is certainly the masterpiece of the same.[39]

2. Violin of Andrea Guarneri. Very fine

3.     “   “       “           “     Excellent

4.    “     “   Gerolamo and Andrea Amati. Very good

5. “Viola of Love” with festooned border by a good maker.

6. Guitar of Gennaro [Fabbricatore ?] of Naples 1809.

7. Various Bows by good makers.

Gianpaolo Gregori

May 2018


[1] Stewart POLLENS, Stradivari, Cambridge, Cambridge U.P., 2010, p. 60.

[2] see: Library of Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Godfrey Kopp letter to Mrs. John Crosby Brown plus inventories, 1896, b1727660_001; risorsa internet: http://libmma.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p15324coll13/id/9180

[3] See the related tabs in: http://www.archiviodellaliuteriacremonese.it/cimeli/default.aspx?f=457975

[4] Federico SACCHI (from now on: SACCHI), Il conte Cozio di Salabue, Londra, Hart, 1898, p. 52.

[5] SACCHI, p. 52.

[6] SACCHI, p. 52.

[7] SACCHI, p. 52.

[8] SACCHI, p. 52.

[9] SACCHI, p. 51.

[10] SACCHI, p. 51.

[11] SACCHI, p. 52.

[12] SACCHI, p. 51.

[13] SACCHI, p. 51?

[14] SACCHI, p. 52.

[15] SACCHI, p. 52.

[16] SACCHI, p. 52.

[17] SACCHI p. 52, he related with a similar terms the existence of "Models of the Viola of Love with 12 strings made in the month of January of the Lying Year MDCCXVI".

[18] SACCHI, p. 51.

[19] SACCHI, p. 51.

[20] SACCHI, p. 51.

[21] SACCHI, p. 52.

[22] One wonders if it could be the small device with muted MS 502-504.

[23] See: Emilia BRICCHI PICCIONI (from now on: BRICCHI), Una fonte stradivariana. Le carte del,’Archivio Cozio di Salabue, Cremona, Comune di Cremona, 1987, n. 16.

[24] Perhaps repetition of n. 28; see note 17.

[25] Francesco GALEAZZI, Elementi teorico-pratici di Musica con un saggio sopra l’arte di suonare il violino…, Tomo I, Rome, Stamperia Pilucchi, 1791 - Tomo 2, Rome, Puccinelli, 1796.

[26] See: Ignazio Alessandro COZIO DI SALABUE (from now on: COZIO), Carteggio (transcription of Renzo Bacchetta), Milano, Cordani, 1950, pp. 131, 161, 165; BRICCHI, n. 8-11-73.

[27] COZIO, p. 335.

[28] COZIO, p. 344 et seq..

[29] J. B. DE LA BORDE, Essai sur la musique ancienne et moderne, Paris, E. Onfroy, 1780; BRICCHI, n. 68-89.

[30] COZIO, pp. 83-120, 131-144; BRICCHI, n. 7.

[31] COZIO, p. 149; BRICCHI, n. 10.

[32] BRICCHI, n. 64.

[33] BRICCHI, n. 74 ?.

[34] BRICCHI, n. 35 ?

[35] COZIO, p. 394 et seq.; BRICCHI, 89 et seq..

[36] BRICCHI, n. 34 ?

[37] COZIO, pp. 409-414; 418-426; 434-442

[38] COZIO, pp. 3-26; BRICCHI PICCIONI, cit., n. 1.

[39] It had been bought by the Cozio ancestors in Bologna in 1720, see: Giovanni IVIGLIA, in: COZIO, p. XIV. Vedi: http://www.archiviodellaliuteriacremonese.it/en/strumenti/1668_violin.aspx