It’s considered to one of the masterpieces of Antonio Stradivari. The “Bass of Spain” was made in 1696 and is one of only eleven highly decorated instruments the old master made.
It was aquired by King Felipe V of Spain in the end of the 18th century, along with several other instruments by Stradivari. The group is now kept in the Palacio Real (Royal Palace) of Madrid.
There is no conclusive evidence why Stradivari made these elaborate instruments. But it is thought that early in his career, he wanted to distinguish himself from other Cremonese builders.
The edge inlay of ivory (or bone on the originals) lozenges and discs is also found around the soundhole of his guitars.