French Violin Bows

Our current selection of fine French violin bows.

Pillot Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920

£1,350

Pillot Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920
This is a relatively modest Mirecourt bow stamped Pillot which plays superbly. The stick is of deep red pernambuco, mounts are ebony and nickel. The condition is excellent throughout, with the exception of the ebony collar of the adjuster which has two small cracks. More details


Cuniot-Hury Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920

£1,700

Cuniot-Hury Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1920This is a very good Cuniot-Hury made by Emile F. Ouchard, who apprenticed with Eugene Cuniot-Hury and then took over the workshop in 1912. The model is characterized by a tall narrow head and a frog with a rounded heel – the plain adjuster of slightly greater diameter than the stick is also typical. The output of this workshop is vary varied in quality, but this is a lovely example, finely worked and with good wood. More details


Roger Francois Lotte Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1950 (later mounts)

£2,500

Roger Francois Lotte Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1950This is a classic Mirecourt bow made by Roger Francois Lotte, branded Georges Coné & Fils Lyon. Lotte supplied a lot of unbranded bows like this to French violin-makers such as Coné. The mounts are not typical of Lotte – although they are a perfect fit and of fine quality, it seems wise to assume they aren’t original. The stick is of round section red pernambuco – the wire lapping appears original and everything is in excellent condition. More details


Cousenon Bernardel Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1930

£2,750

Cousenon Bernardel Violin Bow,  Mirecourt circa 1930
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


Louis Bazin Violin Bow, Mirecourt circa 1930

On trial, £6,000

Louis Bazin Violin Bow,  Mirecourt circa  1930The Bazin family were one of the most important dynasties in French bow-making. Although their workshop output was massive (and massively inconsistent), the best work from Charles Nicholas Bazin and Louis Bazin is right up there. Many regard Louis as the best maker in the family, and this particular bow is a splendid example. More details


Auguste Barbé Violin Bow for Gand & Bernardel, Paris circa 1890

£8,000

Auguste Barbé Violin Bow for Gand & Bernardel, Paris circa 1890Auguste 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


FN Voirin Violin Bow, Paris circa 1860 (mounts not original)

£12,000

FN Voirin Violin Bow, Paris circa 1860For most players who have had the use of a good Voirin, there’s no turning back. He is without doubt the greatest maker of the later 19th century, and the model he developed became the definitive model, copied and re-interpreted by pretty much every bowmaker since. Like so many of the greats, Voirin spent time in the Vuillaume shop, and this is one of the bows he made there (stamped JB Vuillaume). It follows the bold pattern of Pierre Simon, but with some nebulous extra refinement or elegance. The stick is of dark chocolate pernambuco with a lovely wild flame – the mounts are of the period but not original to the stick. More details


Victor Fétique Violin Bow, Paris circa 1920

£13,500

Victor Fétique Violin Bow, Paris circa 1920Victor 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


JA Vigneron (Père) Violin Bow, Paris circa 1900

£16,500

JA Vigneron (Père) Violin Bow, Paris circa 1900Joseph-Arthur Vigneron is another of the great names in French bow-making. Like so many of the better late 19th century makers he worked for Gand & Bernardel before setting up on his own. He developed his own very successful model, rather more masculine than Voirin or Lamy, balanced a bit more to the heel, and with very exaggerated chamfers to the head. This is a typical example of his work – it was the much-loved first bow of a retired professional. More details


Joseph Alfred Lamy (Père) Violin Bow, Paris circa 1895

£18,000

Joseph Alfred Lamy (Père) Violin Bow, Paris circa 1895This 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


Eugène Sartory Violin Bow, Paris circa 1910

Eugène Sartory Violin Bow, Paris circa 1910Eugène Sartory is without question the most highly respected bowmaker of the 20th century, and this is in all respects a perfect example of his work. It’s in pristine condition, with its original lapping and ivory face, and it’s an ideal weight at 62 grams. Much has been written about Sartory’s genius, but essentially you could reduce this down to two observations – his work is outstandingly precise, and his understanding of the needs of modern players has not been surpassed. More details


Pierre Simon Violin Bow, Paris circa 1850

Pierre Simon Violin Bow, Paris circa 1850I 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. Both Peccatte, Simon and Voirin all worked for JB Vuillaume, and this bow is a Simon from the Vuillaume shop, circa 1850-60. The characteristic frog design and fitting was used by all of the 20 or so Vuillaume makers, but the heads give away the identity of the maker, and Simon is very distinctive with such a backwards curve to the rear of the head. The stick is of round section dark chocolate brown pernambuco, mounts are of silver and ebony, with the typical catfish-mouth ferrule and elegantly curved backplate. More details


Joseph René Lafleur Violin Bow, Paris circa 1830

Joseph René Lafleur Violin Bow, Paris circa 1830Lafleur is one of the great names in French bow-making. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Joseph Lafleur is that the modern bow came of age during his lifetime – there’s a marked change in style throughout his working life, and this later example is a modern bow in all respects. Contemporary bow-makers would kill or maim to get their hands on this quality of pernambuco, dense, veined and beautifully flamed. The head is very artistic, a bell-like model which Pierre Simon championed in his work. Typical frog with 2-piece heel-plate, one single pin in the centre of the back plate. More details


Scotland, London and Online

Tonal specialist • Worldwide service • Trial periods