Auguste Barbé worked exclusively for Gand & Bernardel and for this reason is not nearly as well known as he should be. However, his bows are subtle and almost indistinguishable from those of his close colleague FN Voirin. Here we have a lightweight example in top condition.
I have something of a soft spot for Barbé – he is relatively unknown, and yet every bow I have seen of his has been exquisite. Very close to Voirin in style and execution, they are assiduously worked, elegant and refined in all details.
This bow is very typical of the bows he made for Gand & Bernardel between 1886 and 1899. It has a narrow and very upright head, a frog which increases depth toward the ferrule, and a single pearl eye. The stick is of round section orange-red pernambuco with a subtle figure – mounts are silver and ebony.
The condition is excellent as specified in the certificate.
It would be the easiest thing in the world to beef up the silver wire on this bow and get it up to 58 grams, but that would be to go against the whole concept of the maker. It’s a superb lightweight bow, incredibly agile and with a crystalline sound. The stick is strong for such a narrow cross-section, and with a perfect balance point at 25.5cm the bow feels absolutely right in the hand. It’s obviously not the right bow for bashing out the Bruch, but for exposed chamber music or earlier classical repertoire it’s a real dream. Just very easy to make music with this bow…