Bass viola da gamba

Barak Norman (English, 1651–1724)

Object Place: London, England


Length 118.2 cm, width 37 cm (Length 46 9/16 in., width 14 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Maple, spruce, ebony

Not On View


Europe, Musical Instruments



Flat back of maple in two pieces, inlaid with double-line purfling, ornamental knots, and the double interlaced monogram BN. Ribs of maple. Slightly arched belly of soft pine with double-line purfling at the edges, inlaid floral design below the finger-board with medallion; two C-holes. Finger-board of maple veneered with ebony. Neck ending with peg-box and scroll, instead of carved head. Hook-bar of ebony, holding tail-piece veneered with ebony. Six strings fixed to six boxwood pegs; movable bridge. Inside construction: top block separate from the neck bracket; back reinforced with two cross-bars and cross strip 9.8 cm. wide and 5 mm. thick; bass-bar and sound-post. Eight gut frets on the neck. Light yellow varnish.


1936] Printed label: Barak Norman / at the Bass Viol in / St. Pauls Church=y: / London Fecit / [handwritten: 1713]; stamped on belly: BARAK / NORMAN / LONDON / FECIT ; printed repair label: Restored by John A. GOULD & SONS / [Established 1889] / Violin Makers, Dealers and Repairers / BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS / [handwritten: New inlaid button on back at / base of neck; two new cross / bars, and crack stays on top / back and sides. JUNE


Francis W. Galpin (1858-1945), Hatfield Regis, England; 1916, sold by Francis W. Galpin to William Lindsey (1858-1922), Boston, Massachusetts; 1916, gift of William Lindsey, in memory of his daughter, Leslie Lindsey Mason, to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 5, 1916)

Credit Line

Leslie Lindsey Mason Collection