American bass viol

about 1800
Benjamin Crehore (American, 1765–1831)

Object Place: Milton, Massachusetts, United States


Length 121.5 cm, width 42.1 cm (Length 47 13/16 in., width 16 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, pine, ebony

Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



Two-piece back of slab-cut maple. Ribs and neck similar. Seam of lower ribs does not meet at center, but nearly lines up with offset seam of back. Ivory domes (one missing) glued to ears of scroll. Back of pegbox finished flat with incised pattern of half circles at lower edge. Maple wedge (6 mm. maximum thickness) between neck and fingerboard, and later wedge at heel of neck to increase angle to body. Two-piece belly of medium-grain spruce. Painted purfling, interrupted at top of back by series of four crosses and dots. Later tuning pegs, fingerboard, tailpiece, nut, and saddle of ebony. Later steel endpin with rosewood collar. Later bridge. Orange-brown varnish. Interior construction: Later wide neck block with rounded corners, but pointed platform carved from back for original footed neck. Wide lower block with chamfered corners. Thin liners and corner blocks. Bassbar runs in line with grain.


Printed label: Baseviols / MADE AND SOLD BY / Benjamin Crehore, / IN MILTON; manuscript label: Made / Anno Domini 1796


Before 1967, gift of Wallace Goodrich, Director of the New England Conservatory of Music 1931–1942, Boston, Massachusetts; 1983, gift of the New England Conservatory of Music to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 9, 1983)

Credit Line

Gift of the New England Conservatory of Music