This is a beautifully preserved bow from the hand of Nicolas Maline, one of the better makers from the golden period of French making. It’s a strong but supple stick which draws a majestic tone.
Nicolas Maline is one of the few Mirecourt makers whose work equals that of the Parisians – the only other example that comes to mind is Etienne Pajeot. Certainly Vuillaume recognised his talent, and he supplied a lot of bows to Vuillaume as an outworker.
This bow dates from around 1850, and it shows a strong Peccatte influence in the square head and the broad chamfers. With nickel mounts and a half-mounted frog this won’t have been an expensive bow when it was made, and we can only weep at the quality of pernambuco which makers in the 1850s were able to use on their lesser bows!
The stick is of round section mid-brown pernambuco of exceptional quality, deeply flamed and vibrant – mounts are nickel and ebony.
The condition is excellent – the only issues to report are the inevitable split in the ebony of the adjuster, a tiny loss of material to the top edge of the frog on the audience side, and a well repaired minor crack in the thumb projection. The stick itself is very clean, with hardly any wear to the handle – just one very small mark in the audience side of the head.
For me this bow is a stand-out. The stick is supple in the best possible way, giving great adhesion and a depth of tone which you just can’t find in a 20th century bow. Staccato is a breeze, and the bow has a nervous energy which you would normally associate with a lighter stick.
The tone is rich, with an abundance of higher harmonics – lots of shimmer without too much grit.
In brief, this bow has all the attributes which cause players to gravitate towards this period of French making – power, tone, and an unmatchable combination of solidity and excitement…