There is still some uncertainty about who made the bows branded Simon FR, but they are consistent and individual in style, very close to the work of the Peccatte school. This bow is one of the best examples we have seen, eminently collectable but also a tremendous player.

The maker of Simon FR bows was either a Jean Simon or a Nicolas Simon, both based in Mirecourt at the time. At any rate, these bows are highly recognizable as the work of one talented maker.

Typical features are the dark red-black pernambuco, the pronouced forehead, the uniquely shaped throat of the frog. Other regular points of style are the slightly ferrous pins, the short bottom plate and the rather triangular section close to the head.

The stick of this bow is round section pernambuco of the finest quality, mounts are silver and ebony. There are no condition issues other than a shrinkage crack in the ebony ring of the adjuster and a couple of miniscule dings to the stick.

This is not just a great example of this maker’s handiwork, it’s also a wondeful playing bow, smooth and opulent, sitting beautifully in the strings but with a great staccato too.

It’s a powerful stick but not rigid – to me it feels supremely controllable and perfectly balanced.

The wonderful bows of the 19th century aren’t for everyone – many players are looking for a brasher or grittier sound. But if you’re looking for a sophisticated tonal palette and a range of strokes, rather than just a tentpole to bash out Shostakovitch, this bow will hit the spot.

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