Cello - Alexander Smillie 'McNeil'
VIOLIN, GLASGOW 1896
Smillie produced around 300 instruments and there is a spontaneity in his style that compares to contemporary Italian work; indeed, it is whispered that some instruments were sold under the pseudonyms Salsedo, Renisto and Porto.
This fine and typical 'del Gesu' model of 1896, no.100, is identified by the rounded outline and the full and flat arching contours. The narrow and pronounced edge channelling gives definition to the otherwise flat form. The purflings, with their hooked mitres, are evenly thicknessed and flowing.
Of all Smillie's output, his 40 or so cellos are particularly esteemed; in terms of craftsmanship they can be counted as among the best British work of the time. This handsome cello of 1910 loosely interprets the Guarneri family style, with its short and broad proportions and open-cut, widely spaced sound-holes.