This is a lovely bow by Joseph Arthur Vigneron, one of the outstanding makers of the late 19th century. The wood is spectacular, the condition is excellent, and it’s a great playing stick…

JA Vigneron was an important maker who worked for the illustrious firm of Gand & Bernardel in Paris alongside FN Voirin. He lived a relatively short life, and after leaving Gand & Bernardel he worked independently under his own name for only 15 years, dying in his early 50s. However, he was very prolific, and we have many examples of his work which is always assured, full of character, and without pretension.

This is an unusually attractive bow by this maker – the wood is quite amazing, a translucent orange-brown pernambuco with wild figure, round section and finished to perfection. The mounts are silver and ebony with a typical backward cut to the ferrule where it meets the frog, the button with its characteristic broad collar.

The condition of the stick is exemplary – some minimal wear to the handle, otherwise beautifully preserved. The frog has a tiny repaired crack to the thumb projection and a very small insert in the top rear corner on the player’s side.

If all bows were like this we would have very little to say about them, but all the evidence suggests that it must be very difficult to make a bow this good…

In terms of playability this bow is absolutely on the money – the weight and balance are perfect, the stick has just the right density and stiffness, and the sound and the articulation are both optimal. I’ve never played a Vigneron that wasn’t very good; they all tend to share some quality of “rightness” – they sit immediately in the hand and they do everything with competence.

Warmth of sound, reliability, ease of manipulation off the string – these are the primary qualities of this bow. But ultimately it just does exactly what a bow should do, and after a few seconds’ playing you will forget it’s there – the highest praise for any bow!

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