This is a top of the range Hill viola bow in gold and ivory dating from 1937 – it’s in great condition and it plays beautifully.
This bow was made by William Greive Johnson and carries the figures “37” under the frog, suggesting it was completed in 1937. At this time Johnson was in charge of the Hill workshop, and it was normal practice for the workshop manager to make the best gold mounted bows.
This is one of the finest and bingiest Hill bows I have seen, and now that international regulation of the ivory trade has been relaxed in relation to parts of musical instruments, we can all breathe a sigh of relief and put these wonderful bows back to work!
Hill craftsmanship is always first class, but the quality of the sticks varies enormously. The WE Hill & Son brand is the most prestigious, reserved for the best sticks, but the really great stuff received gold mounts, with ivory or tortoiseshell for exceptional sticks. This bow is of octagonal section deep-red pernambuco, slightly flamed on the audience side, and giving the appearance of having come from very old wood stocks.
The condition of this bow is also excellent – it’s not unused, there’s a bit of wear to the handle and there’s the odd scratch and nibble in the head, but it has been cared for over the years and it presents unusually well.
This is an exceptional player in all respects with a big open rich tone, very smooth in long strokes but very agile too. There’s not much to be said about it – it’s a beautifully balanced bow suitable for a serious and demanding professional, and I can’t recommend it too highly. It has all the qualities people value in the better Hills – power, consistency, reliability, and flair!