Birth : 1696 in Turin (Piemont. Italy) Death : 1747 in Paris ( Île-de-France)

Summary

 

Biography

Career:
It was supposed for a long time that Andrea CASTAGNERI was Gian Paolo CASTAGNERI's son, a Cremonese instrument maker active in Paris in the middle of the 17th century.

Through the excellent research which Sylvette Milliot has carried out (Milliot S. 1997) we learn that Andrea, was born in Turin on 11 June 1696, and that his father came from the Valle del Lanza in the high Piedmont, where the Princes of Carignan resided. Andrea Castagneri maintained a significant relationship with the Carignan family throughout his life.

While at the service of the prince of Carignan as “valet de chambre” and “huissier” ('gentleman's gentleman'), Andrea gets married in 1717. From account books belonging to the princess of Carignan, we learn that payments were made to him in the rôle of music copyist.
It is quite believable that Andrea played a musical instrument as part of his duties. The practice of the time was to give diverse and multiple functions to members of staff.

In 1720, as the Princess of Carignan came to Paris to join her husband, with her luggage came also Andrea and his wife. ( in 1721 he is known to have asked a Parisian notary to write a proxy letter to be sent to his father in law Giovanni Baptista GAFFINO in Turin).

We do not know anything about the circumstances of his apprenticeship, however, from the labels inside his instruments, we can infer that he was active as a maker prior to 1740, the year he was certified as Master. His account books reveal a broad clientele of eminent musicians and aristocratic amateurs.

On 23 September 1747, Andrea CASTAGNERI has to leave the Hôtel de Soisson, as it is being sold by the prince's creditors. He then moves to rue des Prouvaires with Marie-Anne Castagneri his daughter. Around that date, having slipped into insanity, he stopped instrument making; he dies on 5th December 1747.

Works:
His work is reminiscent of GUERSAN.
His early work is rugged and characterful, garnered with a dark varnish. It evolves towards a more refined manner, of distinguished tonal character, with wide sound-holes, covered in a varnish ranging from the golden-yellow to the red-brown. The arching and thicknesses are very well thought-out, and the model remains quite consistent throughout his carrier.
A. CASTAGNERI is a major figure in the school of making known as 'Vieux Paris'.

Workshop:
Until 1747 at the Hôtel de Soisson, in the 'quartier des Halles' (previously known as Hôtel de la Reine)

Collaborators and successors:
His brother in law: Joseph GAFFINO

Awards and recognition:
The  'Quatuor Castagneri' from France play four of his instruments.

Sources:
MILLIOT Sylvette (1997)
(More specfic publication references are available in our Bibliography section.)

 

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