Nicolas Bertrand (French, 1686–1735)
L. 27 7/8 in. (70.8 cm)
Labeled: Nicolas Bertrand / a Paris 1720.
The Crosby Brown Collection of Musical Instruments, 1889 (89.4.1343)
This instrument retains its original neck, which was reshaped when the viol was converted to a cello, probably in the late eighteenth or nineteenth century. Bass viols of French origin feature seven strings, an invention of the French viol player Jean de Sainte-Colombe (fl. 1658–87, died by 1701). Nicolas Bertrand, one of the most celebrated makers of viols, incorporated this feature in his bass viols.