Branded WE H&S, this remarkable bow was made by Willam R. Retford (son of William C Retford) around 1930. A very responsive player of an ideal weight, in a fine state of preservation, this bow comes from the private collection of one of the most respected experts in Hill bows.
Although the mounts for this bow are relatively plain, the stick is made from the most extraordinarily figured pernambuco – in fact it’s the kind of wood you see on great Tourte sticks.
Two dots behind the head mortise on the silver face identify the maker as WR Retford – frog and stick are matched by a letter B.
The mounts are silver and plain ebony with a full length pearl slide and back plate. The stick is of octagonal section orange pernamuco with an intense random figure.
The condition is excellent – some minor nibbles to the stick and a bit of edge wear to the frog, but no cracks or damage.
Early Hill bows can be great, but this one is a level up again – beautiful action to the stick, and a fat but clear and articulate sound.
Somehow the better a bow is the less you can find to say about it. I can’t really fault this bow for balance, or for its ability to handle legato or staccato. The tone is full and satisfying without any grime or loss of articulacy, and you can really feel the attack.
I have the feeling that this bow would knock the socks off some very expensive French bows in a blind shootout.