Another string to its bow: Turn Up The Music Trust general manager Sarah Lyttle, left, with violin benefactor Jill Rothwell


Queenstown’s music school’s been gifted a rare violin that’s sat in an Auckland wardrobe for about 50 years.

A copy of a 1736 Stradivarius, labelled an ‘Antonius Stradiuarius’, it was made in Cremona, northern Italy, in the 1800s.

Part-time Queenstowner Jill Rothwell says her grandfather, George Douglas Little, born in Wellington in 1888, acquired it as a young man before he married in 1915 and played it regularly in small groups of string instruments with his brother Ernest and others.

He in turn passed it on to her mother Lois, after whom the violin’s named, though she played the piano instead.

Rothwell says she was handed ‘Lois’ when she played in school orchestras.

She decided to gift it to Queenstown’s Turn Up The Music Trust — after first getting it restored — after chatting to one of its founders, Jillian Jardine, and finding out it’s keen to acquire more instruments.

Rothwell hopes her example will inspire others to hand over instruments that aren’t being used any more.

‘‘The main thing is I want it to be played by some young person who will get some pleasure out of it’’ — while admitting she’d also get a kick out of hearing it played again.