Eugène Sartory remains the most popular bowmaker amongst professional musicians, and the value of his bows continues to rise at an alarming rate! This is a fine early example with excellent playing qualities.
Although Sartory bows have a reputation for consistency, there’s actually a good deal of grading that has to be done within his output. In particular, the early bows command much greater respect, partly because they are more refined, and partly because they are more likely to have been made by the master himself.
This lovely example from 1910 shows a transitional style somewhere between the exquisite Lamy-influenced early bows and the more robust mass-produced entities of the later period. The stick is of round-section dark red pernambuco, mounts are silver and ebony with a Parisian eye.
The condition is generally very good, but there’s a small chip in the frog on the audience side and there’s quite a bit of thumb wear to the stick in front of the frog. There are also two scorch marks on the underside of the stick from incautious use of a spirit lamp.
Although the certificate states that all parts are original, in the opinion of Pierre Guillaume the adjuster is a replacement, and this accounts for the keen price.
I can’t say I’m always persuaded by Sartory bows, but this one is great. It plays more like a Simon than a Sartory, with a smooth and full tone and with great adhesion. The spring is positive but not stiff, and the bow sits in the strings with confidence and assurance. It is ideally suited to big romantic repertoire with its powerful legato and slight growl to the sound.
Not a collector’s piece but a superb player with a beautiful rounded tone.
Dimensions: length 74.5cm, weight 62.2 grams
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