Gift of Music
Elly Griffiths' Violin
What would you save? It’s my Dad’s violin. My dad was Italian and being Italian was a huge part of his identity. He was born in 1912 and a wonderful character, very charismatic. He came to England with his parents. As well as being musical he was also a racing car driver for a time and a fashion designer. When the war broke out Dad was interned in a prisoner of war camp because of his nationality.
After the war he worked as a fashion designer and that’s when he met my Mum. She was a fashion artist and one day at work a colleague mentioned that Felice de Rosa was coming in but that he wouldn’t introduce them because he was so good looking that everyone fell in love with him - and my Mum said “well I won’t” – and so the scene was set. They were a very glamorous lovely couple.
Dad gave me the violin because I started having lessons at school. I only played for about 6 months, as I sadly haven’t inherited his musicality. However, both my children are musical and Alex, my son, showed a keen interest in the violin at school so I gave him Dad’s. I got it restored before I did and found out that it is a German violin and a couple of hundred years old. It isn’t worth a lot of money, but it is beautiful.
Why is this item important to you? Because when I hold it I feel connected to my dad. I also feel proud of him that he could play an instrument. I suppose the musical side of my Dad is very much the Italian side of him. And I feel grateful that this talent has been passed onto my children. In fact, Alex is particularly talented and is now pursuing a career in music.
If this item was destroyed, how would you feel? I would feel sad. I try not to have too much sentimentality tied up in things because I’m very bad at losing stuff. But this is the one thing I have of my Dad’s. He died very suddenly at age 90 and didn’t really pass specific items down to us all, so I’m glad I already had this gift from him. It’s also a link to my Italian grandparents, who died before I was born, as they gave it to my Dad. And now I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to pass it onto Alex.
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