Hippolyte Camille Lamy is one of the most precise and gifted makers of the early 20th century – here we have an exceptional gold and ivory viola bow in mint condition.

Every now and then we are lucky enough to come across a bow which represents the very best of a maker’s work – this is just such a bow, with exceptional wood and precious mounts, in pristine condition, and even engraved with the date of manufacture! Hopefully the photos do it justice…

JA and HC Lamy are both highly regarded for the exceptional sharpness and elegance of their work. HC Lamy was if anything a more exacting craftsman than his father, but he also introduced a bit of much needed strength into the model. A Lamy bow is as much an exquisite piece of jewellery as it is a musical tool. and to see one in gold and ivory as a real experience, especially when it remains pretty much unused.

The stick is of round section reddish orange pernambuco with a vivid and dramatic flame. Mounts are gold and ivory, with an engraved dedication on the ferrule to Marcel Stern – the bow was most likely a graduation gift from a patron.

This is a highly collectable bow, and it would be a shame to expose it to too much wear and tear. Nonetheless it does play wonderfully – it’s at once strong and supple, drawing a big but refined tone. The entire length of the stick performs well, and I really can’t fault it. Great sound, great legato, effortless staccato, easy and comfortable in the hand – it really has everything going for it.

I can’t pretend it’s cheap, but I don’t think there are many better bows out there…

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