This is a very fine and rare example of the work of Célestin Clasquin. It’s a great playing bow in beautiful condition.

Célestin Clasquin only started making bows under his own brand after the First World War. Before that he worked for JTL in Mirecourt, and is thought to have apprenticed with CN Bazin. Since he died in 1928, we have only 10 years of identifiable production from him – a great pity for such a talented maker.

Generally his work seems very close to that of EF Ouchard, but the heads are more skeletal and drawn out. This particular bow is a very good example, well preserved and showing his work at its best.

The stick is of round section orange brown pernambuco with a mild figure, mounts are silver and ebony.

The condition is excellent – just a little bit of wear to the thumb projection and some minor marks to the stick behind the head.

It’s still something of a mystery to me why so many early 20th century French bows don’t command higher prices. Clasquin, Louis Morizot, Piernot – great makers, surely equal to Thomassin or Fétique, and yet still so undervalued. This bow is a case in point. It’s an excellent bow, and it would come off well in a blind test with many Sartorys. It has a firm but highly responsive stick – very resistant yet agile, strong and even from heel to tip. But its greatest asset is the sound – creamy and full, brimming with confidence.

It’s quite rare to find a bow with this combination of smooth elegance and nervous energy, and at this sort of price it’s nigh on impossible.

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