This is an outstanding Hill bow from the 1950s in chased gold and tortoiseshell – it’s in mint condition and it plays like a dream.

Throughout its almost 100 years of production, the Hill workshop produced bows in a vast range of qualities to suit all pockets. At the bottom of the range would be the H&S branded bows in silver, and at the very top, WE Hill & Son branded fleur-de-lys bows in chased gold and tortoiseshell. Needless to say these commanded the highest prices and they still do…

This particular example was made by Arthur Copley – it carries his “1” mark on the face and on the frog, as well as the date on the handle under the frog.

The stick is of octagonal section orange pernambuco with a subtle speckled figure – mounts are chased gold and tortoiseshell.

The bow is in near perfect condition – not a single mark or chip to the tortoiseshell, no wear whatsoever, just one tiny scratch to the head on the audience side.

Hill bows are as variable in playability as they are in appearance, but as a general rule, the better the mounts the better the stick. I’ve never played a gold and tortoiseshell Hill that wasn’t excellent, but I really like this one. It’ s very lively and responsive whilst remaining easy to control, it gives the player a lot of feedback in the hand, and it seems to shift gear without the slightest pause. It can access all types of dynamics immediately, from extreme delicacy to total overdrive, and yet the sound is always rounded and sophisticated.

All of which makes for an unusually expressive and adaptable bow that gets our highest praise!

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