This is an exceptional gold and tortoiseshell mounted ‘fleur de lys’ Hill bow from the 1920s – in mint condition, beautifully balanced with a strong yet responsive stick.

The early Hill fleur de lys bows represent the best of this important workshop’s output, and they are becoming increasingly collectable. Hill bows have a deservedly good reputation for workmanship and quality control, and the early bows are also highly prized for their playability and for the quality of the pernambuco.

This example from the late 1920s bears no maker’s mark on the face, from which we can deduce that it’s the work of William Napier, who worked for Hills between 1891 and 1930. The stopped frog fitting indicates a date of manufacture after around 1926.

The stick is of round section mid-brown pernambuco with a strong random figure, mounts are gold and tortoiseshell.

There are no condition issues and the bow is relatively unused.

The Hill workshop produced an enormous range of qualities, and it’s fair to say that most peoples’ experience of a Hill bow is of one of the cheaper grades. Playing one of the early gold mounted bows can be a bit of an eye-opener!

This example is unusually good even for a top level Hill – the stick is strong for its weight, just the right side of stiff, full of energy yet weighty and sonorous in legato passages.

Ideal balance, crisp attack, lots of heft – this bow has everything.

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