On trial, £8,000
Auguste Barbé is a highly respected maker who worked exclusively for Gand & Bernardel, and whose bows are regarded as equal to those of FN Voirin. Gand & Bernardel employed some of the great names in French bow-making (Joseph Henry and Pierre Simon perhaps the most famous), and their output was of the highest quality. This bow is typical of their later period, branded simply Gand & Bernardel rather than Gand & Bernardel Fres indicating a post-1885 date. The stick is of excellent orange-brown pernambuco, the frog is ebony with silver mounts. The head is exquisitely worked and vey artistic.
Priced to reflect the condition, there’s a small finely executed repair directly behind the mortise, there’s some wear to the thumb projection, and the adjuster is a later replacement.
This is a superb playing bow, and my own favourite from our current stock. Like so many excellent French bows it doesn’t shout at you (better buy a Sartory if that’s what you want), but it quietly puts lesser bows in the shade. The tone is refined, pure and carrying – the action of the stick is nervy but forgiving, great for pyrotechnics but also silky smooth. If you’re looking for a quintessential French bow without breaking the bank, this would be a good option – slightly tatty but undeniably a thoroughbred.
The bow has been authenticated by Perre Guillaume, Maison Bernard, Brussels – certificate on request.
Weight 60 grams, length 74.3cm
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Interested in this Barbé violin bow?