D’Espine, Alexandre [Alessandro Despine ]
- Philip J. Kass
[Alessandro Despine ]
(b Plainpalais, nr Geneva, Switzerland, Nov 19, 1782; d Torre Pellice, Italy, Sept 1, 1855). Italian violin maker, from a noble Savoyard family. He came to Turin before 1814, when he is recorded in Count Cozio’s diaries as an amateur whose work was varnished by Gaetano Guadagnini II, a neighbour. By profession he was a dental surgeon, serving as such, from 1821 to 1831, to King Vittorio Emmanuele I of Sardinia. His training as a violin maker remains unknown. Early accounts report him as a pupil of Pressenda, also a neighbour, with whom he shared a use of the French forms and patterns found in most Piedmontese violin-making after 1814. His rare violins, while often described as modelled after Guarneri, have more in common with Pressenda’s approach, combining a French form with a soundhole design reminiscent at once of Stradivari and Guarneri. He and Pressenda both received copper medals at the ...