This is an unusually fine Hill bow from the collection of the late Bill Watson. It’s in pristine condition and it’s a spectacular player.
Although this bow bears the maker’s mark for Sydney Yeoman, it’s most likely a collaboration between Yeoman and William Retford. Yeoman was badly shell-shocked in the First World War, and he received a good deal of help and support from generous-minded colleagues.
Whatever the exact history, this is one of the cleanest and most elegant Hill bows we have seen, and it’s no surprise that Bill Watson chose to keep it in his private collection. The condition is as new.
The stick is of round section red-brown pernambuco of perfect density – mounts are silver and ebony. The face bears the maker’s mark for Sydney Yeoman (a notch in the back face of the mortise) and the stick and from have matching assembly marks.
People can be a bit snobbish about Hill bows, but this is a great stick – beautifully balanced, strong yet supple, supremely easy to use.
The sound is full, warm but also clean and focused – this is the perfect bow for filling out a slightly scratchy violin.
I can’t fault its technical qualities – effortlessly smooth legato, crisp attack, bags of tone, just a splendid bow in all respects.