A cello made in Venice by the legendary 17th century luthier (a maker of stringed instruments), Matteo Goffriller, one of the highlights of Bonhams sale of Fine Musical Instruments in Knightsbridge, London today, 31 October, sold for £265,250. It had a pre-sale estimate of £120,000-150,000. The 353 lot sale made a total of £1.4m.
The Venetian Goffriller cello which dates from around 1695 has an aged craquelled red colour, and uses wood which can be dated by dendrologists to 1683/4. Goffriller is now known as the founder of the Venetian School of luthiers though until the early years of the 20th century his work was often confused with that of other famous instrument makers. Born in the Southern Tyrol town of Brixen, he arrived in Venice in 1685 when the city was one of the world's major musical centres, and was active between 1689 1740.
He is best known for the quality of his cellos and in 1913, Pablo Casals, the most famous cellist of the 20th century, bought a Goffriller made in 1733 and used it as his main concert instrument until his death in 1973.