Investigative tree-ring analysis on Musical Instruments
Here to stay...
The Science of Dencrochronology is now considered by many to be the single most important and objective addition to the thorough appraisal of instruments of the violin family.
In the specialist field of Dendro-organology, the tests are not only based on the comparison of the tree-ring pattern of the instrument against the published geographical references available, but also to thousands of other ring patterns found on the soundboards of other instruments.
"Dendro" is now used and relied upon by many of the World's authorities in Violin Expertise, collectors, dealers and Musical Instruments Auction houses. In many cases, it offers reassurance and peace of mind to sellers and buyers alike.
Thousands of dendrochronological tests are being carried out, not only on important instruments but countless others too, in order to help support (or not...) current or past attributions or certifications.
It has never been as easy to commission a dendrochronological analysis, as most tests are now carried out from high-resolution digital images sent via the internet, speeding up the whole process.
Our research over the last few years has revealed many interesting aspects of the trade of spruce tonewood in an historical context, identifying clusters of timber used in specific location during specific periods. These findings, increasingly significant as more instruments are tested, formed the subject of a talk at the "Museo del violino" in Cremona in September 2014. The abstract of the talk can be seen at the bottom of our Publications page
Important Dealerships, Collectors, players and major international Auction Houses, specialising in the sale of fine Musical instruments, such as Tarisio, Ingles and Hayday, Brompton's, Amati and Vichy Encheres rely on the speed and revealing nature of our service.
Numerous historical instruments in Museums such as "Cité de la Musique" in Paris and "The Shrine to Music" in Vermillion, South Dakota have also been successfully analysed.
What people say:
"I have found that dendrochronology is an invaluable tool that can offer very important insight and confirmation to an expert when forming an opinion about the origin of an antique violin family instrument"
Christopher Reuning , Reuning & Son Violins
"Peter's dendrochronological research adds valuable information to violin appraisals not available through traditional expertise"
Eric Blot, Eric Blot S.r.l.
"At Tarisio we use dendrochronology to help support our attributions for high-value instruments."
Jason Price, Tarisio Auctions
“Dendrochronology is such an important tool in the modern world of violin expertise. Peter’s analytical approach and holistic view of the evidence is tremendously helpful to our work.”
Paul Hayday, Ingles & Hayday Fine Instruments
"Dendrochronology is increasingly important when selling fine instruments. Peter Ratcliff is a pleasure to work with, providing detailed reports and giving the buyers as well as ourselves, peace of mind"
James Buchanan, Amati Auctions
"As experts it is our responsibility to use every single tool available to help us to inform our opinion; dendrochronology is one of these valuable tools, and Peter’s accurate and scholarly approach is a credit to his profession"
Florian Leonhard, Florian Leonhard Fine Violins
"In our experience Peter's reports are very reliable and serve as an excellent supplement to the ever-evolving study of violin expertise and authentication. We appreciate his dedication and objective approach to the science of dendrochronology."
James Warren, Kenneth Warren & Sons, Ltd
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