Claude Thomassin is a maker with a very distinctive style. This is a lovely and typical bow from the early 1900s, very well preserved, with a smooth and rich tone.

I don’t suppose Claude Thomassin needs much of an introduction here – we have sold a good number of his bows over the years and they are always popular.

The most recognizable aspect of a Thomassin from this period onwards is the “catfish” ferrule with its heavily swept back corners. The heads are often slender and very upright like the bell of some strange flower. Thomassin seems to have been a lover of sinuous curves…

The stick of this bow is of round section orange pernambuco with excellent translucence and a random figure – mounts are silver and ebony.

There are no significant condition issues and there’s very little wear – however, there’s a small chip in the frog (bottom corner audience side) and the front of the head is very slightly abraded on the audience side.

This is very much my kind of bow, not too supple, not too stiff, but with enough give in the stick to really dig into the strings. It produces a big and ripe sound without effort, yet it’s nimble enough to get off the string and still produce some volume.

This bow also loves the extremes of the register – great colour in the high reaches, and a nice fat growl at the bottom end.

A good Thomassin is always reliably in the middle of things, happily occupying that space between the tonal richness of the 19th century makers and the technical superiority of the 20th.

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We also welcome customers by appointment to our showroom in Wells, Somerset, and we make regular trips to meet clients in London, Brussels, Cologne, Munich and Vienna.

Martin Swan

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