Kit violin, Gaspar Borbon, Brussels, 1686, inv. 2764
The kit violin or kit is a small violin that fits easily into an inside pocket, as indeed indicated by the French name ‘pochette’.
The kit was in use from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century, and was in evidence at every level of the population. It was employed by, among others, dancing masters, who resorted to it in their dancing lessons if no violin was available. Originally, kits were elongated, in the form of a boat. The neck and the sound-box were constructed out of a single piece of wood, as in the case of the rebec. In Italy, models were created on the lines of a miniature violin, whereby the neck and sound-box were two separate components.
Gaspar Borbon from Brussels made this hybrid kit in 1686, taking an Italian instrument as model and uniting the characteristics of the two types.