This is a great bow by Etienne Pajeot, one of the most important of early 19th century makers. It’s original in all parts but presented here with a copy frog by Simon Guillaume. Very good condition and a terrific playing bow.

Pajeot is a unique maker, a tireless experimenter whose inventiveness has only been rivalled by Vuillaume. Although based in Mirecourt throughout his working life he was clearly in touch with Parisian trends, and around the mid-1830s he settled on a model which was as sophisticated as anything being produced anywhere in the world.

In this bow we see an early draft of his famous “racing head”, though the wood is closer to that of Persoit than the heavily barred figure Pajeot would come to prefer, and the cheeks aren’t quite as flat.

The stick is of round section mid-brown pernambuco with a fine figure. The original frog is an open trench frog in ebony – the button is silver. The copy frog is a wood to wood silver and ebony frog made on a Pajeot model.

The condition is generally very good – there are a few dents in the stick, there’s a repaired crack in front of the handle mortise and another at the adjuster, both supported by bushings to the screw mortise. The original frog is in excellent condition and the “Pajeot” brand is still visible.

This bow encapsulates the unique quality of early 19th century bows – it produces a huge sound with no apparent effort. The stick is strong yet supple and lively with great attack; the sound is magical… dense and intense.

Who knows what alchemy is hidden in a bow like this – whether it’s the wood, the graduations or subtle aspects of the design (or all of theses in combination). It just puts out so much sound and colour, all without requiring any special skills of the player or any major adaptation of technique.

For me this is Pajeot at his best, caught at that point in time where he fully understood the stick, but before he adopted the fateful underslide…

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Martin Swan