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.
In other words, one hell of a bow – it’s got bling, it plays like a dream, and it has great provenance. A unique bow for a collector or a demanding professional, it shows Sartory at the pinnacle of his abilities. Although he arrived at a relatively standard model which has proved immensely popular with professional players, he also produced some very impressive copies, most notably of Tourte and Peccatte. This particular bow is made from the most ridiculously flamed pernambuco I have ever seen, yet for all its absurd figure the stick is outstanding. Sartory put a lot of effort into the engineering of this stick – the cross-section varies throughout the length of the bow, arriving at a very elliptical form towards the head.
The condition is near-perfect – there is one small dent above the frog on the audience side and a minimal split in the collar of the adjuster, otherwise everything is exemplary.
There’s no point making the most beautiful bow in the world if it doesn’t play, but this bow is in a league of its own. It has a unique combination of solidity and nervous energy, and gives a sense of effortless control. In legato passages it seems to spread itself on the string like butter on warm toast, but the spring is always ready to jump into action. Uniquely amongst bows I have used, it feels like a pen, and the act of bowing feels like writing – an eloquent expression of an idea.
It’s not often that a bow ticks all the boxes – beauty, condition, playability, weight, provenance. This bow has everything in spades.
The bow is accompanied by a letter from Jacques Thibaud in which he offers the bow to a favourite pupil as a gift. From the tone of the letter one suspects that the relationship between Thibaud and his pupil may have been slightly warmer than normal!
Weight: 60.8 grams
Certificate: JF Raffin, Paris 2016
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