$20m cello broken during photoshoot

A Stradivarius cello housed at the Spanish Royal Palace in Madrid has been broken in an accident, an official admitted yesterday.

The instrument could be worth over $20m (€15m).

A National Heritage official declined to specify what went wrong. She refused to comment on an El Mundo newspaper report that the instrument fell off a table during a photo session, but confirmed the incident happened about three weeks ago. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with department policy.

The damage is said to be to a piece that joins the neck of the 17th-century instrument to the body, which fell off on impact. The piece was not original but rather a replacement installed in the 19th century.

The official said the cello would be repaired.

She declined to say how much the cello was worth, but said it was part of a set of instruments — along with two violins and a viola — known as “the Quartet”. because they were commissioned at the same time.

However, Tim Ingles, the head of the musical instrument department at Sotheby’s auction house in London, said he believed that the cello was worth $20m or more.


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