If anyone would ask what is the favorite violin of legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin, it would be the Lord Wilton Guarneri. Lord Wilton, an antique violin made by Guarneri del Gesu in 1742, was one of the most famous violins of Menuhin because of its powerful tone.
Lord Wilton Guarneri. Credit: Sneetchie
The Lord Wilton Guarneri first got its name from Seymour John Grey “Sim” Egerton, the 4th Earl of Wilton. He was a British peer, a musician, and an associate of Arthur Sllivian, of Gilbert and Sullivan. He was the owner of the Lord Wilton Guarneri during the 19th century.
Before Menuhin landed his hands on the Lord Wilton Guarneri, the violin was also played by Croatian violinist, Zlatko Balokovic from 1952 to 1961.
Yehudi Menuhin played the Lord Wilton from 1978 to 1999. After he passed away in March 1999 due to bronchitis, the violin was sold at a record price of US$6 million, the highest price a violin had fetched at that time.
It was thought that if the Lord Wilton Guarneri violin was put up for sale, it would command a price of near US$10 million.