” I have now begun making a violin like mate and Eriksson have done”
The life of a tall ship sailor was a tough one, but at times also infinitely monotonous. To keep busy during free watches and in the doldrums, you did all sorts of things. You built ship models, did skipping and gymnastics, tried fishing and studied algebra. On Pehr Brahe’s last Atlantic voyage 1903-1904, bosun Arthur Oskarsson begun building a violin. It was recently donated to the Åland Maritime Museum. Here you can hear the dry strings on Arthur Oskarsson’s violin sound for the first time this millennium.
Texts in the film
I have now begun making a violin like mate and Eriksson have done
Arthur Oskarsson’s diary, Monday 22 February 1904
Building a violin is one of the most difficult things a carpenter can attempt.
It is a precision job that takes between 200 and 300 hours.
The wood must be perfectly dried and suitable for the purpose.
It really demands specialist tools.
The onboard environment where it’s constantly humid is furthermore totally unsuitable for building and keeping a wooden instrument.
Nonetheless, Arthur build a violin.
Here Arthur Oskarsson’s violin is roused from its 100-year sleep by violinist Ella Grüssner Cromwell-Morgan.
The violin is tuned a full step below so as not to risk cracked wood or broken strings.
The melody ”Millhouse Bay” is Ella’s own composition.
I was truly surprised and also got a bit emotional over the violin’s moving, if weak, sound.
I have played on my fair share of old crocks that people keep in their attics. They are often clumsy, a bit rough and heavy.
It is an instrument that someone has spent many, many hours on. Both before and after it was built.
Violin with accompanying bow
Previous owner: Johan Artur Oskarsson
Made by: Johan Artur Oskarsson aboard barque Pehr Brahe 1903-1904.