Friday, April 8, 2011

An enexpected, but most welcome source

This past week while at work a co-worker told me about a reference to the fleur de lis in a book they were reading. I was so excited to get a new source so enexpectedly and without looking for one. Even better than gaining a new source is that it all might tie into the previous sources. The book is called Antonio Stradivari His Life & Work ( 1644-1737) by W. Henry Hill, Arthur F. Hill & Alfred E. Hill. I have only glimpsed through parts of it but from what I have been told violins were decorated with the fleur de lis image.

"When we arrive at the epoch of the Amatis-i.e. during the seventeenth century-it had ceased, we may say amost enirely, although it survived in the ornamentation of the fittings, such as the finger-boards, tail-pieces, pegs, and bridges. We have seen two violins, the work of Nicolo Amati, which were gracefully embellished with inlaid ornament: in one of them the ornamentation consisted of double purfling, and a fleur-de-lys inlaid in black at the corners of the back and belly, interspersed with small precious stones, while a design of similar character was let into the sides at the blocks."

later in a footnote

"The gigliato was so named because it bore the device of the Florentine giglio, or iris (fleur-de-lys), the emblem of the Republic, as it is to-day of the Commune of Florence."

The time frame of Stradivari's life makes him contemporary with Louis XIV and Louis was responsible for initiating several academies perhaps his music academy each bore an image of the city it represented and the founder of the academy (another avenue to look into). I have not done much in the way of researching this week because I have tried to fine tune (no pun intended) my proposal, so that I can be ready to approach possible advisors.


  1. Misty,

    if you could directly connect Louis XIV to the Stradivarius tradition, that would be cool even if it only ended up as an interesting footnote or appendix to the main thesis.

    But what strikes me in the footnote to the Hills' book you quote above is that the Italian Republic of Florence (Firenza la bella!) was already using its own version of the fleur-de-lis, the giglio (which is Italian for lily, not iris as the footnote suggests). If you Google "firenza giglio" you'll get a link to a page of images of the more elaborate, usually crimson, Florentine version of the fleur-de-lis. Now the question is: does that Florentine giglio have the same origin as the Bourbon fleur-de-lis, and if so, what was it?

  2. Misty,
    sorry I'm a day late. But now I'm back from Nashville and read what you've written and what Mark's written.

    What I'd like to point out is how Mark's mind moved from your information to a couple of good questions. As you follow up on those and other questions that come to your mind with new material, you'll move ahead nicely and find yourself able to write intelligently about this.