Giuseppe Rocca was born in Alba in 1807. According to the historian Philip Kass, Rocca managed to avoid the draft by paying another draftee to take his place. Rocca took the profession of baker and remained in Alba until about age 29. By 1837, Rocca moved to Turin and first referred to himself as a violin maker. Although he likely trained elsewhere, by 1838 Rocca was employed by the violin maker Giovanni Francesco Pressenda.
Rocca was further inspired by the collector and dealer Luigi Tarisio whose collection included the 1716 “Messiah” Stradivari, among other great instruments. Rocca followed the models of the “Messiah” and the 1742 “Alard” Guarneri throughout his career. Together with Pressenda, Rocca is the most highly valued Italian violin maker from the 19th century.
This fine example from Rocca’s mature period follows his “Messiah” model. It has responsive and colorful tonal qualities.