The Lady Blunt Stradivarius violin of 1721 is a violin made by Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, Italy The violin is named after one of its first known owners Lady Anne Blunt, daughter of Ada Lovelace and granddaughter of Lord Byron. However, the first owner of record was Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, who found the violin in Spain in the 1860s. He later sold the instrument to Lady Anne Blunt. In the 1890s, W.E Hill and Sons bought the violin from Lady Anne Blunt and later sold it to an important collector.
The Lady Blunt is one of the two best-preserved Stradivarius violins in existence. It has survived, like the Messiah Stradivarius of 1716, in near-original condition since it has resided mostly in the hands of collectors and seen little use. It was built on the PG form, being a mature golden period violin. The violin also retains its original neck. Having been played only rarely during its first 300 years, the 'Lady Blunt' Stradivarius violin was played by Yehudi Menuhin at the time of the Sotheby's sale in 1971, providing a rare opportunity to hear this famous instrument.
This violin was sold at auction by Sotheby's in 1971 for the then-record amount of £84,000 by Robert Lowe, who owned the violin for nearly 30 years. (US$200,000).
In 2008 it was sold to the Nippon Music Foundation for over US$10 million in a private transaction. The Lady Blunt was sold by Tarisio Auctions on their 20 June 2011 online auction for £9.8 million (US$15.9 million), more than four times the previous auction record for a Stradivarius, held by the Molitor when it sold for US$3.6 million in 2010. The proceeds will go to the Nippon Foundation's Northeastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. When it went up for sale it was called "the best-preserved Stradivarius to be offered for sale in the past century."