An unusually fine Hill violin bow from the early 1930s, this silver and tortoiseshell example is in mint condition and plays wonderfully.

For those who like to know the nerdy suff, this bow has a maker’s mark (5) for Arthur Barnes on the face, a 1931 date stamp on the handle and matching assembly marks (Y) to the frog and stick.

Having said that, a Hill bow is a Hill bow, and the WE Hill & Sons brand and the materials are sufficient to indicate that this is a top quality example.

The round stick is of outstanding pernambuco, even by early Hill standards, red-brown with a dramatic flame throughout the entire length.

The condition is exceptional – there are really no signs of use other than a bit of rounding-off to the top facets of the handle. The whalebone lapping is original and the frog is pristine – very rare to see a 1930s tortoiseshell frog in this condition.

This is a supremely collectable Hill, but it’s also a knockout player – big, smooth and powerful but with a lively and responsive spring. It has a generous and rounded sound, great attack, and impressive stability. A great bow for Romantic repertoire, and a perfect all-rounder for a busy professional orchestral player.

Hard to know whether to keep it locked away in a cupboard to preserve it or to make the greatest possible use of its remarkable playing qualities … I would vote for giving it some serious use, but it’s not my call!

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