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Hello all, I have what I assume is a 19th century guitar, and am curious if anyone has opinions about it.
The label says Benoist Fleury but my understanding is he's mid-late 18th century, which makes no sense. Fake or transfered label? Pictures of the guitar and the label are below.
I apologize for the upside down picture of the label.
Everything seems original except the frets, and I suspect the fingerboard as well. Would a mid-19th century date be a reasonable guess?
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James, I've messaged you the photos directly in hopes you can see them that way.
Thanks for looking!
Jalovec's indispensable 'Encyclopedia of violin- makers' gives Benoit Fleury's dates as 1751 - 1791 ( no other suitable Fleury candidates are listed) but it also shows a specimen of his label (seemingly identical to one on your instrument) from an instrument with a handwritten date added of 1759 - so I hardly think he made it when aged only 8!
I suspect Viaduct Violin's dates of 1719 - 1792 are probably right (tho' source?). Either way the instrument is clearly nineteenth century design and, from the separate fingerboard glued over the belly (athough not unknown in France from the 1820s, really only became common there later), I suggest a date from the 1840s rather than significantly earlier. Though, of course, a new fingerboard could have been added later but - since this would normally involve altering the neck angle (lifting it a little)- I suspect not.
It's quite possible that the workshop continued after Benoit's death which might explain the use of the same labels rather than deliberate deception. Does this one have a date inked in after '........St. Germain a Paris' like that shown in Jalovec? Perhaps you might try contacting Viaduct Violins and asking if they know whether the workshop continued after B's death in 1792.