American bass viol

about 1800
Benjamin Crehore (American, 1765–1831)

Object Place: Milton, Massachusetts, United States


Length 128.5 cm, width 47.1 cm (Length 50 9/16 in., width 18 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, pine, ebony

Not On View


Americas, Musical Instruments



One-piece back of slab-cut maple. Ribs similar. Crude later neck with crude pegbox/scroll grafted on. Two-piece belly (with wings) of wide-grain (or slab-cut?) pine. No purfling. Later tuning pegs, fingerboard, and saddle of ebony. Old tailpiece of ebony with crude inlaid 8-point mother-of-pearl star, raised lozenge-shaped piece of ivory/bone, and ivory/bone strip above string holes. Later, thick dark red-brown varnish, crudely applied. Interior construction: Later hemispherical neck block, but apparently a platform carved from back for original set-up with footed neck. Wide lower block with chamfered corners. Some liners rectangular (later?) and some shaped. Very large corner blocks. Thin bassbar.


Printed label: Baseviols / MADE AND SOLD BY / Benjamin C [erased letter] rehore, / IN MILTON


1975, sold by Ira Rushman to Christopher Bickford, Hartford, Connecticut (Director of the Connecticut Historical Society); 1984, gift of Bickford to the MFA. (Accession Date: February 8, 1984)

Credit Line

Gift of Christopher Bickford