HC Deb 01 April 1890 vol 343 cc405-6
DR. CAMERON (Glasgow, College)

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury if he would state under what authority a violin (consigned from Paris to Mr. D. Lawrie, of Glasgow, at the Midland Grand Hotel, St. Pancras), valued at £800, dated 1690, and purporting to be the work of Antonius Stradi-varius, of Cremona, was on the 25th March detained by the Customs Authorities at Dover; if it is true, as stated by the Station Master at Dover in explanation, that its detention was due to the fact that in consequence of violins, represented as the work of classic makers, having been imported, consignees of such instruments are now required to state whether the imported article is for private use or sale; and, if for sale, to prove the accuracy of the date and name on the label before the instruments are given up by the Customs; whether the violin will be delivered to Mr. Lawrie without further delay; whether the fact of an old violin having passed the Customs is to be taken as a Government certificate of the genuineness of its date and signature; and if the regulation is intended to protect purchasers of violins against imposition, why an exception is made in the case of violins declared to be for private use, but which may subsequently be sold?


The question appeared on the Paper only this morning; but I have been able to ascertain that this violin was imported at Dover as described by the hon. Member. It was declared to be of the value of £80, and it was detained. On the 28th of March a letter was received from Mr. David Lawrie stating that the violin was his own property, and was intended for his own use. Upon that statement directions were given for its delivery to him, and it has, I believe, been delivered.


Is it the fact that if a violin is declared to bo for sale it is stopped unless the signature on it can be verified?


I have not been able to obtain information in answer to this question.