Victor Gardner (Vittorio Giardineri) was born in Oregon of Italian Immigrant parents. As a child he wanted to learn to play the violin but his parents couldn't afford to buy one so he made one himself. He went on to make over 400 violins, violas and cellos over his long lifetime. His work was discovered by Hans Weisshaar in Los Angeles who invited him to come and study with him. Gardner also worked with Simone Sacconi in New York who convinced him to use his Italian name Vittorio Giardineri in his instruments. Over the years he trained many young makers, many of whom went on to work in Weisshaar's shop. For this viola, Gardner used maple with unusual and very striking flame.