Author wants return of 'Derry Stradivarius'

A Derry author is leading the campaign to have an antique Stradivarius violin returned to the city in time for the City of Culture celebrations in 2013.

Anne Akiko Meyers

When an antique violin was found under a bed in Derry in 1988, few people would've predicted it would end up selling for $3.6m in 2010. But that's exactly what happened when Muriel Anderson found a Stradivarius under her late brother's bed.

Now that the violin is residing in America (it's being played by violinist Anne Akiko Meyers), a Derry-based author is leading the campaign to have the violin brought back to Derry in time for the City of Culture celebrations in 2013.

Dr. Nuala McCallister Hart has been piecing together the story of the violin itself as part of researching her new book, and was astonished to discover that the 1690s instrument (named 'Molitor') may have once belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte.

Dr. Hart is keen for the return of the instrument: "Wouldn't it be wonderful to have Muriel’s Molitor brought back and played once again in her home city of Derry/Londonderry during its Year of Culture?"

She added: "I've been in contact with both the auction house and Anne Akiko Meyers but for it to happen we would need the help of some of the big arts organisations."

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