Auctioneers Sotheby’s and Ingles & Hayday have announced that a rare viola from maker Antonio Stradivari (1644-1737) is to go under the hammer. The ‘Macdonald’ viola will be offered through a sealed-bid process, with bids expected in excess of $45m.

Stradivari’s violas are the rarest of his instruments, with only 10 known to have survived. The ‘Macdonald’ of 1719 is one of only two violas made during the maker’s ‘Golden Period’ (1700-1720).

Director of Ingles & Hayday Tim Ingles said: ‘The finest of all Stradivari violas is generally agreed to be the “Macdonald” of 1719. It is immaculately preserved. No Stradivari viola has been on the market for the last 50 years so this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

Violist David Aaron Carpenter will play the instrument at Sotheby’s in New York and Paris. He said of the instrument: ‘This viola represents the pinnacle of human achievement in instrument-making, and it is in incredibly good condition. Almost as though you ordered a viola from Stradivarius and 300 years later he handed it you.’

Watch David Aaron Carpenter perform on the ‘Macdonald’ viola at Sotheby’s website:



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