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date: 10 July 2020

Franciolini, Leopoldolocked

  • Edwin M. Ripin


(b Florence, March 1, 1844; d Florence, March 10, 1920). Italian dealer in and forger of antique musical instruments. His importance lies in the fact that he was active at the time when many of the world’s large public and private collections were being formed and when several major reference works on instrument makers were being compiled. Consequently, examples of his outright fakes and heavily reworked antiques are found in many museums and pictured in many books, and the names and dates of the purported makers of instruments he sold (many of them apparently fictitious) have been included in standard reference works in the field. By no means all of the instruments that passed through Franciolini’s hands were fakes, but a substantial proportion of them appear to have been much altered or equipped with false inscriptions or new, more elaborate decoration. Moreover, there is no doubt that he made or commissioned large numbers of entirely bogus instruments constructed from all sorts of old materials as well as from such modern substitutes as celluloid, to simulate the ivory inlays found on original examples....

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