Stradivari experts have recognised changes in the luthier’s style that took place between the years 1680 and 1690, and which would last until the end of his career. From a technical point of view, the changes cannot be considered a true revolution but rather more of a shift in psychological awareness that enabled him to form his own independent style. Horace Petherick writes: ‘At the earliest of these dates [1680-1690] the complete independency or self consciousness of power, as a master liutaro, is already perceptible. There is no possibility of these violins having been made on the moulds used during his bachelorship. […] It was at this time that Stradivari probably made more new moulds or blocks on which to construct, than at any other. With some few exceptions those that were now being made could be used for any of his violins during the remainder of his career. The average proportions remain the same, the differences are minute in measurement, notwithstanding their effectiveness in helping to a different expression is the design.’ The ‘Croall’ belongs to this period, as we know from its original label, which reads ‘Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1684’.
More information: Antonio Stradivari Set 1, Volume 1, Page 136