Fine Violin Bows Over £5,000
This is a very fine early 20th century Tourte model Nürnberger bow, bearing a “Saxony” brand on the underside of the stick behind the frog. The stick is of octagonal section red-brown pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition is exceptional, with no issues to report. More details
This is a superb gold and tortoiseshell mounted Hill bow from the 1970s. The bow is branded WE Hill & Son, this brand being reserved for the best quality of sticks. However, we don’t need the brand to tell us what the quality of the bow is, since gold and tortoiseshell Hills are the pinnacle of their output. This example is in perfect condition, dead straight and unblemished – it’s made of octagonal section mid brown pernambuco, and has gold mounts and a gold face. More details
This is a classic Knopf bow made for the firm of Ludwig Bausch in Leipzig. Many great bows were produced by this shop, either by the Bausch family themselves or by various members of the Knopf family. Johann Wilhelm Knopf (1835-1912) made may bows under his own stamp, and from a study of these we are able to establish that he was responsible for this bow. Some general features of the Knopf school are immediately apparent – the massive plain pearl eye and the distinctive rounded cut to the adjuster collar are the most noticeable. The head with its Simon-like bell shape is specific to Johann Wilhelm.
The stick is finely worked orange pernambuco of round section, mounts are silver and ebony. The condition of the bow is excellent. 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
This is a superb collectable bow by one of the most obscure members of the Knopf bow-making dynasty, which dominated the German trade in the 19th century. I’ve gradually become aware of the spectacular playing qualities of good Knopf bows, mainly on the context of the bows made for Kittel and for the great mid/late 19th century firms such as Ludwig Bausch and Richard Weichold. But this bow is a stand-out – in near mint condition, with an excellent certificate, and with fantastic playing qualities. More details
We always try to keep a couple of James Tubbs violin bows on the website – perhaps that gives a clue as to how I rate him as a maker! His model is individual and very distinctive with long buttons, long rounded ferrules, the head broad and elegant, always with a silver face. This example from Tubbs’ later period is typical – very dark brown pernambuco, silver and ebony mounts, the plain ebony frog with its square heel characteristic of the period. The stick is in great condition – there’s a bit of scratching to the player side of the frog and handle, and the pearl slide is a replacement, otherwise no issues. 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
On trial, £12,000
I have to admit that I’ve woken up rather belatedly to the qualities of a fine Tubbs. The wood in his bows is very variable, and some seem just too soft or light to be useful. But the bows he made with strong and dense wood like this one are amazing. His model is individual and very distinctive with long buttons, long rounded ferrules, the head broad and elegant, always with a silver face. More details
This is an outstanding later period Tubbs bow in great condition. The round section stick is of dark red-brown pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony. The frog is plain and the adjuster slightly shorter than on a middle period bow. It’s quite rare to see a Tubbs in this sort of condition – there’s minimal wear to the stick and the frog, and all the silver is crisp and undamaged. 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
Joseph-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
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