French Violin Bows
Recently sold, £2,250
This is a new bow by contemporary French maker Jacques Poullot. Like so many of the new wave of French makers, Poullot studied under Bernard Ouchard, but he is a highly respected maker in his own right. The bow we are offering for sale is his ‘Special Atelier’ model with a plain pearl eye, stick of round section red pernambuco, and sliver and ebony mounts. More details
This is a very good silver-mounted Mirecourt bow stamped Leon Bernardel Paris. This brand was owned by the Cousenon firm, but most likely the bow was supplied by the Laberte workshops. Typical French features include the cuts to the corners of the ferrule and the visible transition from octagonal to round section beyond the end of the lapping. More details
This is a great Ouchard stick with replacement mounts. Composite bows such as this one give a player the opportunity to buy a fine and fully functional stick at a bargain price. More details
Collin-Mézin is one of the best known names in the violin trade, and their violins show great artistry and attention to detail. The bows bearing the firm’s brand are equally desirable – the majority, like this one, made by the Morizot workshop in Mirecourt under the direction of Louis Morizot. More details
This is an unusually good Piernot bow made for Chanot-Chardon and carrying their brand. It’s in exceptional condition and it plays beautifully. More details
On trial, £7,000
You can recognize a Bernard Ouchard bow from a mile away – highly distinctive styling, beautiful workmanship, and always a touch of bling. Aside from being a very pretty object, this bow is an outstanding player which ticks all the boxes, and does great credit to its maker and to the illustrious Ouchard name. More details
This is one of two superb bows we have by this fine French maker. Ouchard apprenticed to Eugène Cuniot, and ended up running the firm of Cuniot-Hury after Cuniot’s death in 1910. From 1923 onwards, Ouchard worked under his own name along with his son Emile Auguste.
This is a very typical example of Ouchard’s work, with a rounded heel, finely tapered pearl slide, and his most classical head. The wood is beautifully flamed orange-brown pernaumbuco, round section, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition is excellent. More details
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. More details
Recently sold, £8,500
The second of two superb bows we have by this fine French maker, this is a unique and collectable bow. Ouchard apprenticed to Eugène Cuniot, and ended up running the firm of Cuniot-Hury after Cuniot’s death in 1910. From 1923 onwards, Ouchard worked under his own name along with his son Emile Auguste.
This is a very interesting and stylish bow with a Vuillaume-style trench frog – Pierre Guillaume considers it an unusually fine example of Ouchard’s work. The wood is dark brown round section pernaumbuco of high quality, mounts are silver and ebony. The bow is in excellent condition. More details
Like so many of the better late 19th century makers, Joseph-Arthur Vigneron worked for Gand & Bernardel before setting up on his own. His bows are distinctive stylistically and in playing character, sometimes works of genius, sometimes a bit lumpy. This particular bow is one of the best playing bows I have come across!
The stick is of round section mid brown pernambuco with a strong flame, mounts are silver and ebony. In this case we have a plain pearl eye and a square heel, suggesting quite an early date. More details
Victor Fétique was an extremely productive maker – the first half of his working life was spent in the employ of CN Bazin and Caressa & Francais, subsequently he ran a busy workshop in his own name, and in 1925 received the honour of “Premier Archetier de France”. Fétique stamped bows are a bit of a nightmare, since his workshop bought in and finished some sticks from Markenukirchen, and the German makers in turn faked his brand. Fétique also made a large number of unbranded bows for other dealers or violin-makers. The only way through this morass is to entrust the identification to an expert, and in this case JF Raffin has confirmed that the bow is entirely the work of Victor Fétique, though sold by and branded Paul Jombar Paris. More details
Emile Auguste Ouchard is just one of those names …! Everyone who has been around bows will look lively if you show them an EA Ouchard. His work is supremely neat, and the playability of his bows is second to none – while Sartory has the sexier name, EA Ouchard consistently produced better bows. More details
Around the turn of the 20th century there was no shortage of great bow-makers in Paris, but Lamy has always been a special name for me. I love the refinement of these bows and their extraordinary sound. They tend not to suit orchestral sluggers, but they have always been popular with players who value expression and nuance. More details
Nicolas Maline, also known confusingly as Guillaume Maline, is quite a maverick figure from the Golden period of French bow-making. Even his dates are disputed, as is the question of whether or not he worked for Vuillaume. However, his work is unique and distinctive, and of the highest quality. More details
This is a very fine Joseph Alfred Lamy in excellent condition, stamped A Lamy à Paris. Lamy worked for FN Voirin until the latter’s death in 1885, then set up on his own producing bows of superb quality. This bow dates from Lamy’s earlier period – the plain eye set far back in the frog is typical of his work at this time. But unlike some bows from this period, this example has a strong stick and a perfect weight. Very much the ideal Lamy, it has a great sound, great technical quality and optimal antique value. More details
This is a very fine Lamy Fils in near pristine condition, stamped A Lamy A Paris. Lamy bows have always been popular with players, and this particular bow would be pretty hard to beat for sound or for technical quality. The stick is of round section red brown pernambuco, with silver and ebony mounts. The bow is an exceptional piece for a collector, and retains its original tinsel lapping and thumb leather. The condition is pretty much mint – so much so that I have hesitated to even buff up the silver! Yes it’s not cheap, but you will never see another Lamy in this kind of condition. More details
A very strong Sartory violin bow in excellent condition, all parts original.
I suppose that most people’s list of “French bows to die for” would read Dominique Peccatte, Joseph Henry, Pierre Simon, FN Voirin in that order. There are more beautifully made bows, there are more historic bows, but these four makers have stood the test of time when it comes to their reputation amongst great players. More details
Etienne Pajeot is one of the great early French makers, and his bows are highly sought after for their excellent technical qualities. A fine Pajeot is eminently suitable for modern technique, though the strength of the sticks makes them particularly suitable for soloists. More details
Etienne Pajeot is one of the great early French makers, and his bows are highly sought after for their excellent technical qualities. This particular bow is an exceptionally well preserved early example and is highly collectable. More details
A superb Dominique Peccatte violin bow in fine pernambuco, mounts of silver and ebony. Some minor restoration and a replacement button – a fantastic example at a great price.
This isn’t just any old French bow – it’s a Sartory. It isn’t just any old Sartory, it’s a gold mounted Sartory. It isn’t just any old gold mounted Sartory, it’s a rare Peccatte model gold mounted Sartory. It isn’t just any old rare Peccatte model gold mounted Sartory, it’s the one that used to belong to Jacques Thibaud. More details