Here we have a remarkable violin bow by Jules Fétique, one of the 20th century’s best makers – perfectly preserved and a phenomenal player.

Every now and then we come across very pure examples of a maker’s work, all original, with minimal wear, with a crisp brand, and with original lapping and mother of pearl.

This bow came to us in that state – unfortunately the tinsel lapping had unravelled a bit and wasn’t really salvageable. We did manage to keep the original leather – the hair was probably original too but that definitely needed to be renewed!

It’s lovely to see the “Jules Fétique Paris” brand – so much of this maker’s output was made for and branded by other firms or makers.

The work on this bow is exquisite – one of the most noticeable features is that it’s almost impossible to see the pins in the metalwork. Fantastic symmetry throughout and beautifully judged curves – you wouldn’t see better work on a Sartory or an EA Ouchard.

The stick is of octagonal section orange pernambuco of exceptional quality – the random figure is very reminiscent of Tourte wood. Mounts are silver and ebony.

There are no condition issues other than the slightest rounding to the top facet of the handle.

This is a strong bow with a full and broad sound, but it’s also pliable and lively, able to lend itself to any repertoire. It sums up perfectly what the makers of the time were trying to achieve – a stick that could handle modern technique, which would help a player to dominate large halls, but which nonetheless offered elegance and nuance. Sartory bows often fail on the subtlety, but Jules Fétique never oversteped the mark, and from the player’s point of view he takes the prize.

Eminently adaptable, offering a wide range of colours, this is a bow which feels immediately comfortable and assured. It would be ideal for somone looking to fatten up a slightly harsh instrument, or for any player who craves a big and bold sound.

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