James Tubbs Viola Bow, London circa 1870

Recently sold

James Tubbs Viola Bow
This is a great early James Tubbs viola bow made for WE Hill whose brand it bears. It’s in a very fine state of preservation and it’s an unusually versatile player.

You only have to put “Tubbs” into the search function on our website to realise that we are big on Tubbs! This is not on account of some idle whim, but because the better Tubbs bows are amongst the finest playing bows you can find. James Tubbs in particular produced some quite wonderful bows, as well as more than his fair share of dogs!

This bow dates from Tubbs’ early period as a self-employed maker, and was produced for WE Hill – it appears that Hill had something of a monopoly on Tubbs’ output at this time, although there is no evidence that Tubbs was an employee.
The Tubbs style is already fully developed in this bow, with a very broad forehead, a darkbrown pernambuco stick (round of course), a silver face to the head, a slightly rounded ferrule and the characteristically broad back plate.

The condition of the bow is outstanding, with no cracks or damages and very few signs of use.

This is only the third Tubbs viola bow we have handled, but it appears that there is more consistency in his viola bows than the violin bows. All three examples have been top level players, but this one is particularly nice. It has the deep centred sound one expects from any good Tubbs, and it sits in the strings as you would hope, but it also has a slight stiffness which brings it off the strings so effortlessly. You still get the same great feedback in the fingers that a more supple Tubbs stick would offer, but it’s somehow slightly more surgical. People often describe using a Tubbs bow as being like driving a Mercedes – in this case the suspension has been racked up a bit and the top is down! So put your foot on the gas and feel it surge forward…

All in all this is a great viola bow which would satisfy the most discerning of players.

Mounts: silver/ebony

Dimensions: length 74.8cm, weight 71.1 grams

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James Tubbs Viola Bow base photo James Tubbs Viola Bow frog photo
James Tubbs Viola Bow head photo James Tubbs Viola Bow tip photo


James Tubbs is one of our favourite bow makers

Click here to read Martin’s article about him

Ref: sr267

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