Violin

Got £6m spare to buy a violin? Rare Stradivarius that belonged to the Wombourne family at auction

The “Hellier” Stradivarius violin

The ‘Hellier’ Stradivarius made in 1679 is expected to sell for between £6million and £9million at Christie’s sale next month.

The violin described as Antonio Stradivari’s “best inlaid violin” remained in the Hellier family for nearly two centuries.

Luthier Stradivari is believed to have refused to sell the instrument for 55 years until he let it go at a 1734 sale for £40 to landscaper and musicologist Sir Samuel Hellier, of Wodehouse, Wombourne.

It is now believed that the instrument may have entered the Staffordshire family some time earlier, as the 1719 will of John Hellier, of Westminster, bequeathed two Cremona fiddles to his nephew Samuel Hellier, Sir Samuel’s father .

Its design became a model for future generations of luthiers.

Christie’s website states: “It is the finest inlaid violin ever made by world renowned genius craftsman Antonio Stradivari and one of the finest Stradivarius instruments in existence – estimate £6,000,000-9,000,000.

“An extremely rare and important example of Stradivari’s work.”

The violin is to be offered during the auctioneer’s exceptional sale on July 7 and a highlight of London Classics Week. It will be presented at Christie’s London in The Art of Literature from June 6 to 15.

Amjad Rauf, Christie’s Global Head of Masterpieces and Private Sales, said: “Christie’s is honored to offer the ‘Hellier’ violin, a rare masterpiece executed around 1679 by the genius craftsman Antonio Stradivari, who is undoubtedly his best inlaid violin.

“Previously in the greatest collections of musical instruments, and recently loaned to the Smithsonian Museum, this remarkable lot presents the market with a unique opportunity that exemplifies the finest works that are synonymous with The Exceptional Sale.

Georgian landscaper Sir Samuel Hellier was known to have spent a lot of money collecting a musical treasure trove of instruments and recently released works. He died in 1751.