The Mary Portman Guarneri Violin gets its name from a lady who resides in London, by the name of the Honourable Mary Isabel Portman, the builder of “The Kranzbach Castle”. Mary was the daughter of a British peer.
While many assumed that Mary Portman would be a professional violinist, since she owned the Guarneri violin, she wasn’t. However, you would be right if you could say that she was an accomplished amateur. She studied music in Leipzig, Germany. The Mary Portman Guarneri was under her care during the World War I.
Mary Portman Guarneri. Credit: Cozio
Till date, several violinists have played the magnificent Mary Portman Guarneri violin of 1735. One of them include one of the greatest violinists in history, Fritz Kreisler. Adele Anthony, an Australian-born violinist, also landed his hands on the Mary Portman Guarneri during her years with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amherst Symphony. Most recently, Yi-Jia Susanne Hou, a famous Canadian violinist played the Mary Portman Guarneri violin.
Violinists who played the Mary Portman violin sung praises of the wonderful instrument of nearly three centuries old. When asked, Yi-Jia Susanne said that “the violin has a new mood every day and I play with these and we get along perfectly! Actually the difference with a Guarneri violin is that it sounds better with more audience, the other violins are not.”
The Guarneri violin is currently owned by the Arrisons family, who resides in Buffalo. Clement and Karen Arrison also owned other rare Stradivarius violins, and are affiliated with the Stradivari Society of Chicago, to ‘match’ valuable violins with promising violinists.
The violin is supposed to worth US$10 million.