This is an exceptional gold-mounted Sartory violin bow, formerly the property of the renowned French violinist Jacques Thibaud. It’s a remarkable bow in every way.
This is one of only five or six Peccatte model bows that Sartory is known to have made during his long and productive career. For these bows, as with other unique or one-off examples, he always chose the most spectacular pernambuco, and the quality of execution is even more exacting than usual.
This particular bow was given by Jacques Thibaud as a wedding present to a gifted student of his, Lydie Demirgian, in 1931. When she sold it in 1969 she wrote a lovely letter to the new owner explaining how she had come to own and use it during her career.
The stick is of orange brown pernambuco of exceptional quality, very dense and with a dramatic narrow flame such as can be found on the best Peccattes. The mounts are gold and ebony – the ivory face appears to be original.
The condition is also very good – there’s a small piece of missing pearl on the audience side of the frog, and there’s a bit of a dent in the handle and the frog that must have been caused by a slightly unusual bow hold. Aside from that there is no damage and there are very few signs of use.
I have to admit to being underwhelmed by many Sartorys, particularly the fork handles he produced post 1930. It’s easy to feel that his output is over-valued. But then you come across one of the exhibition bows or a unique gold bow made on a special model and you understand that he was in fact a genius.
This bow is a case in point, and it’s easy to understand why Thibaud thought it was special. It simply does everything a bow should do, effortlessly, with assurance, and with a certain nobility. It feels sublime in the hand, very positive, and with a pronounced girth and weight in the middle section of the stick – in this it adheres quite faithfully to the principles of Peccatte. It sits in the strings so comfortably, and it’s one of the most controllable bows I’ve ever come across. Staccato is a dream, very precise and yet full. Legato is rock solid, always with this broad golden tone which matches the look of the bow so perfectly.
In conclusion, this is an exceptional bow for a collector or for a high level player – one of the most beautiful Sartorys available, and just a fantastically musical bow.