This violin was manufactured in 1684, and still bears the original label from the Cremonese master, which reads ‘Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis/Faciebat Anno 1684’. Its name is derived from Sir Howard Craufurd Elphinstone (1829–1890), a Russian-born Major- General to whom Queen Victoria awarded one of the first Victoria Crosses (VC)—the highest military decoration—for his heroic acts during the Crimean War of 1853–1856. The violin also goes by the name ‘Veerman’ because it once belonged the collector L. Veerman. The Hill Brothers gave a brief description of Stradivari’s work between 1684 and 1685, and much of what they wrote is apparent in the Lord Elphinstone: ‘The years 1684 and 1685 mark a decided development both in form and construction, more pronounced than hitherto. The character of Stradivari’s work remains the same, although he had at length perceived that the instrument as a whole required broader treatment. His dimensions are in most cases increased, and are more in accordance with those of the ‘‘grand” Amati. The heavy edge and breadth of margin round the sides of some of the instruments of this period forcibly recall the style of certain Nicolò Amatis made in 1640–50—Nicolò Amati’s own characteristic work.’ In fact, the large proportions and the well-preserved state of the violin have resulted in an enhancement of its tonal qualities.
More information: Antonio Stradivari Set 1, Volume 1, Page 144