This is a remarkable early Hill bow in gold and tortoiseshell made by Sydney Yeoman. It’s in exceptional condition for its age – a highly desirable collector’s item but also a great playing bow.
Hill bows are held in high regard for their reliability and for the quality of workmanship, but the early pre-WWI bows are in a different league.
Here we have a real stunner of a bow which shows few signs of use other than some typical erosion to the pearl facets of the adjuster. The octagonal stick is of dense red-brown pernambuco of the best quality, mounts are tortoiseshell and gold, with the very rare Tourte-inspired shield inlaid into the frog. This feature indicates the very best quality of work, and dates the bow to around 1910 or before – after this time Hills adopted the fleur-de-lys for their most extravagant creations.
This is clearly not a bow for everyday use – it’s of historical importance and it should be kept in as fine a condition as possible. However, it’s a great player too – powerful, full in tone, with the ideal degree of stiffness. Supple enough to sit in the strings and really pull the sound out, but stiff enough for off the string pyrotechnics.
It’s very rare to find a Hill with this combination of antiquity, beauty, condition and playability – it’s without question the best example we have seen to date.