All about Bows & Bow Makers
WPS Dictionary of famous
|The First class of French bow is a François
Tourte or Dominique Peccatte or even Pajeot (the founders early-mid 19 Century
£30-50k GBP in 2007)|
The Second class French bow is a Voirin, Lamy, Simon or Joseph Arthur Vigneron (best late 19th Century £10-16k GBP in 2007)
The Third class French bow is a Sartory, Jules Fetique, Richaume, Andre Vigneron or EA Ouchard (best early-mid 20th Century £7.5-11k GBP in 2007)
The Fourth class French bow is an a Bazin, Morizot or Claude Thomassin (best mid 20th Century workshop £3.5-5k GBP in 2007)
The Fifth class French bow is a contemporary bow by Millant, Raffin, Thomachot, Rolland and others (best contemporary £2-4k GBP in 2007)
|The First class English bow is a Dodd or Tubbs (Founders of the
English school circa £8k GBP in 2007)|
The Second class English bow is by WE Hill or by a Hill & Sons maker such as Retford or Bultitude (best 20th Century bows £2-4.5k GBP in 2007)
The Third class English bow is by a contemporary maker such as Bristow, Wilson, Green, Burke (best contemporary £1.6k-3k GBP in 2007)
|The First class German bow is an Albert Nürnberger or HR
Pfretzschner (best late 19th Century £1.4-2.8k GBP in 2007) (Kittel who was
actually German / Swiss is an exception)|
The Second class German bow is a Bausch, Hermann, Knopf or Prager (best early 20th Century £1.2-1.8k GBP in 2007)
The Third class German bow is a Weichold of Dresden or Roderich Paesold (best mid 20th Century £800-£1k in 2007)(but there are also a number of Nürnbergers and Pfretzschners here)
There are some American Makers of repute, though their makers' bows do not generally hold their value as do the above categories. A new category / Country is starting to evolve ; Brazilian makers.. but they have not developed into a significant talent as a whole yet....
Pre-History and Birth of the Modern Bow back to top
A Transitional bow was used in Mannheim for the compositions of Tartini, Haydn and Mozart. F. Tourte & The Dodds made them. Wilhelm Cramer ( 1745-99 ), a Mannheim violinist went to London in 1772. The type of bow he used is called "The Cramer bow". Tartini was also involved in improving bows, around 1730, using lighter wood and using a straighter stick ( as opposed to a convex curve ) He also established the octagonal form of the bow at the heel. The Cramer bow was also quite straight, but it was Tourte Père in collaboration with Viotti who made a decidedly concave stick as used nowadays. From an illustration in Leopold Mozart's Violinschule, it can be seen that convex bows were still being used in Germany for some time after these improvements. However, recently it is thought that the dissemination of Tourte bows happened more rapidly in Europe than is commonly believed. In Mannheim and Munich, the Violinist Franz Eck took on Spohr as his pupil in 1803, and one of the first things that he insisted on was for Spohr to buy a genuine Tourte from a music shop in Hamburg. Spohr later writes that although Tourte's bows were expensive, they were "the best and most sought after.". They had won European recognition on account of their trifling weight and elasticity of the stick, the graduated camber and the neat and accurate workmanship. Giovanni Battista Viotti was the founder of the modern school of violin playing. He was the greatest violinist of his day, becoming famous in Paris overnight on his recital at the Concert Spirituels. Viotti's maxim was "Le Violon, c'est L'Archet" and his playing was more expressive, sustained, cantabile, and contained more power and his style of bowing contained more variety of expression and bowing strokes than anyone before him. The modern détaché stroke was born and staccato to contrast it. All this was made possible thanks to a close collaboration between Tourte and Viotti. Viotti, on arriving in Paris, almost immediately went to Tourte and asked him if there was a way of keeping the bow hairs from bunching up, so, in fact Tourte did design the silver guard which keeps the bow hairs flat, like a ribbon, spread evenly as they exit the frog. Viotti's collaboration with Tourte coincided exactly with the final design changes made to the bow, which resulted in the modern bow, unchanged in all its major measurements and characteristics to this day. Also, in our times, bow makers and violinists closely converse and discuss their opinions and views on what makes a good bow: Certainly, like Violin makers, bow makers look for feedback from players on their bows. Some bow makers are ex-players and are lucky enough that they can play with their newly created bows!
Part 1: French Bow Makers
Paris & Mirecourt (Alphabetical order)
Adam, Jean Dominique (1795-1864 ) Father and teacher of Jean (Grand) Adam . Only his best bows are stamped. His octagonal bows are very much in demand. Some stamped ‘Gene Dominique Adam’
Adam, (GrandAdam) (1823-1869) Mirecourt. Pupil and son of Jean Dominique Adam. He surpassed his Fathers' bows.. Simply stamped "Adam". Beware many German trade bows of today also stamped "Adam"
Adam, Jean (d.1820) worked at Mirecourt after a brief period in Valence-on-the Rhone. Violin maker and later bow maker of trade quality bows.
Aubry, J. Aubry (see L. Morizot)
Acoulon, A. à Paris, Finest (Usually Octagonal) bows of Pernambuco wood.
Audinot, Jacques Paris, c1955. Round stick, mounted with silver and ebony. Price: £3,000
Barbé, Auguste Paris, (1875-1902) c1890. Round stick, mounted with silver and ebony. Excellent work. Price £4,500 in 2005
Barjonnet Georges (around 1960) based in Mirecourt, France was one of Emile Francois Ouchard's great protégés.
Baroux very skilful maker.. very little known about him.
Bazin, Family & School Many bows are unbranded French silver mounted circa 1920 emanating from a member of the Mirecourt based Bazin family or their workshops. Details of the family members follow.
Bazin (1907 / 1987) Son of Charles-Louis, with whom he worked
(1922). Established on his own accord in 1945, at Mirecourt, succeeded his
father in 1952. Retired in 1980, he was the last bow maker of the great family.
His bows are stamped in the same way as his Grandfather's : C. Bazin. A Cello
bow by Charles Alfred Bazin, Mirecourt, c1960. Octagonal stick, mounted
with gold and ebony in 2004 is priced £3,000
Charles Louis Bazin, (1881 / 1953). Also called Louis Bazin fils, was son, pupil and successor (in 1907) of Charles-Nicolas Bazin II. He operated in Mirecourt, France, from around 1840 onwards, Louis Bazin is considered the most important and has achieved the highest standard and fame in his craft. He started making bows from the age of 12. During the 20th century Louis Bazin’s bows were widely acclaimed by French virtuosi. The great authority, William Henley, simply states of Bazin’s work: ”No better bows made by any contemporary maker.” An typical example of his work shows a silver-mounted bow of a perfectly straight Pernambuco stick, cut round. The screw is of plain silver, and the ebony nut, mounted in silver, has a Parisian eye and a rounded heel. The tip is mounted in bone. It is light, but firm, allowing for very direct control of the string. It has superb balance and marvellous weight distribution, making play comfortable. Some of Louis Bazin's bows were made for the London firm Barnes & Mullins. Louis Bazin took over form his father Charles-Nicolas Bazin II (to whom he had apprenticed at the age of 12) in 1915. Many bow makers worked with him (Granier, Lorange, Tournier, Delprato, Lapierre, Ouchard, Jacquemin, Dumont, Couturieux, Richaume, Bourgeois, Bontemps, Husson…). He stamped his bows "Louis Bazin" and had two sons : René and Charles-Alfred.
Charles-Nicolas BAZIN I (1831 / 1908) Was the Brother of François-Xavier Bazin and Uncle of CN Bazin II
Charles-Nicolas BAZIN II, also called Charles Bazin fils. Great French bow maker (1847-1915). Son of François-Xavier Bazin, who formed with him (1859), and who was succeeded by him (in 1865). Son of Francois Xavier Bazin, bow maker, he took over his father's workshop in Mirecourt when he was only 18. One of his bows was made around 1890 and comes with a Raffin certificate. Charles Nicolas was born on April 24th 1847 in Mirecourt. He was a great craftsman and was responsible for producing a great many bows that were - and indeed still are - in much demand. In 1869 Bazin established a workshop in Mirecourt and employed some of the most famous bow makers there. In the first six years of the 1900's there were between 12 and 17 makers producing some 2 000 - 3 000 quality bows a year. Bazin spent fifty-six years of his life devoted to making bows. He died on 6th December 1915. Here is a description of one of his examples : A fine classic French Pernambuco violin bow made for Joseph Hel of Lille France (a respected violin maker and dealer from 1865 to 1902) and branded "J.Hel" on each side of the shaft. Charles Nicolas Bazin is known to have made these bows for Joseph Hel. The bow is nickel-silver mounted and weighs 58.5 grams. The round shaft has both strength and flexibility and draws a fine tone. His bows are in great demand. He worked for Nestor Audinot, Charles Brugère, Joseph & Pierre Hel, Georges Chanot, Charles Peccatte… He was a member of the Conseil municipal de Mirecourt (his town of birth). Had 3 sons : Emile, Gustave et Charles-Louis.
Emile Joseph BAZIN (1868 / 1956). Born and died in Mirecourt. Son of Charles-Nicolas Bazin II. First a bow maker, then a professor of music (1894).
Eustache-Joseph BAZIN (1823 / 1864). Born and died in Mirecourt. Cousin of François-Xavier. Not to be confused with Joseph-Eustache, father of François Xavier (1785/1863), who was not a maker of instruments nor bows François-Xavier BAZIN (1824 / 1865). Brother of Charles-Nicolas Bazin I, and father of Charles-Nicolas Bazin I. Probably formed by Dominique Peccatte in Paris, then established himself in Mirecourt around 1840. A catalogue of Louis Bazin Son mentions him "Manufacture d'Archets de violons - Maison fondée en 1840".
Gustave BAZIN (1871 / 1920). Son of Charles-Nicolas Bazin II. Starts off as a bow maker (working for Collin-Mézin in Paris from 1888 to 1891), then moved on to instruments making (Settling in Mirecourt, his home town). Gold Medal at the Rochelle (1898).
René BAZIN (1902 or 1906 / 1982). Son and pupil of Charles-Louis (for bow making), pupil of Dieudonné (for instrument making). Worked with Marcel Vatelot in Paris, et with Fridolin Hamma in Stuttgart. A typical date for a BAZIN Louis (II) would be c.1950.
Bernardel, Léon was born in Paris in 1853, son and pupil of Ernest Auguste. He worked Derazey and with Gand. One example weighs 64 g and is stamped 'LEON BERNARDEL. PARIS' on the shaft. Bernardel, Gustave shop brand often bows by C. Thomassin. His bows sold for as much as 5 Guineas in 1920.
Bigot, Sylvain Contemporary World Class French Bow maker. Former 1st assistant to JF Raffin and Silver Medal Winner at Vatelot Competition 1999. May 17, 2011- Filimonov Fine Violins is proud to announce that both Sylvain Bigot & Jean-Luc Tauziede won Gold Medals at 2011 Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition.Bodart, Doriane Homepage - Archetière Née en 1972 - Londres - Angleterre - 1994/95 apprentissage chez Gilles Duhaut - Mirecourt - France - 1995 atelier Pierre Guillaume - Bruxelles - Belgique - 1996/1999 travaille dans l'atelier de Stéphane Thomachot à Paris - 1997 stage de perfectionnement avec Charles Espey à Shaw island - Washington - USA - 1998 "Masterclass d'archeterie" - Oberlin - Ohio - USA - 1999 stage chez Noël Burke - Knockrooskey - Irlande - 1999 "2ème concours de lutherie et d'archèterie de la ville de Paris" - depuis 2001, participe à un programme au sein du Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, visant à promouvoir les maîtres d'art et leurs élèves - depuis 1999, travaille à son compte dans l'atelier - légué par son grand-père sculpteur Marcel Bodart...
Buthod á Paris, (b. Mirecourt 1810-1889) apprenticed with Vuillaume and later became director of the firm Jerome Thibouville-Lamy (JTL). Produced silver mounted bows.
Chanot, Georges (B. Paris 1830-1895) Worked in father’s workshop and became assistant to Maucotel in London from 1851-1857. Established own business premises in Wardour Street, 1858. Gained a good reputation. Received an honourable mention at the Paris Exhibition in 1878. Made a good number of bows that are not outstanding. Usually dark sticks, slightly longer than the customary length, rather overbalanced at the top, generally heavy, and have a broad saddle and nut. Magnificently finished and rather exquisite-looking when cleaned up, the bows have little elasticity and with use, warping possible. Short grained bows common.
Clasquin (b. Paris d.1926) pupil of Bazin. Refined bows with strong heads, perfect balance.
Claudot (Mirecourt 1750-1828) Not particularly noteworthy
Clement, Edwin. Contemporary Belgian born World Class bow maker. Clement loves to make many different models. All very much with a feel of the finest 19th century bows of Tourte, Maire, Peccatte. Edwin Clement was Gold Medal Winner at Vatelot Comp. 1999 and voted the best Maker of France.
Colas, Prosper (1842-1918) Worked for Vuillaume in Paris. Good bows marked PC
Coné, G. & Fils, a Lyon. George Coné (born Mirecourt 1877 d.1959) and Sons (namely Robert) based in Lyon, France, workshop. George Coné was a pupil of Durand and then Blanchard. Bows are stamped G. CONE & FILS A LYON in capitals. This workshop produced bows and violins around 1940s, succeeding Emile Boulengeot in 1928. being a typical date of bows and EA.Ouchard being a typical maker who supplied his bows.
Cuniot-Hury Paris.(1861-1912) Eugène Cuniot, more commonly known as Cuniot-Hury. This example of his work stamped Lupot is in excellent condition with a strong Pernambuco stick of a dark chestnut colour and the typical style of frog of this maker with the two piece mother of pearl slide and back heel. His business was later carried on by assistants.
Darche Nicholas (b. Mirecourt 1815-1873) a Brusselles. Some splendid bows from his early days stamped ‘N. Darche x Bruxelles’.
Dubois from Mirecourt. Here is a description of one of his bows ; The following is from a certificate of authenticity by MOREL & GRADOUX-MATT of New York. Stick is branded DUBOIS MIRECOURT : The stick is round in shape of an orange colour, Bee wood Pernambuco. The frog is made of ebony, silver lined, with silver mountings and inlaid pearl eye. Screw is made of ebony with 2 silver rings and pearl eye at the end. Tip plate made of Ivory typical work of Mirecourt at this period. Bow and all its parts are in fine condition and all original. No breaks, repairs etc.
Dupuy, Georges Louis was the son in law of Eugene Sartory. He had a shop / firm in Paris. Louis Gillet made bows for him.
Eulry, Clement ( c.1760 - c.1835 ) French bow maker and teacher ( or pupil ? ) of Nicolas Maire or Pajeot fils. He was the first maker to use a metal thumb facing on the frog. His bows are similar to Maire's and Pajeot's though less carefully finished. He did not always stamp his bows.
Eury, Jacob (formerly known as Nicolas cf. Vatelot "Les Archets Français") ( b. Paris c.1785 (prob. 1765) d.c.1835 (prob. 1848)) A member of the Mirecourt family of violin makers. Worked from 1790s to 1840s, in Mirecourt, Paris then Versailles. His bows are very rare, and a number of other makers stamped their bows with his name. Details are few on this maker. A contemporary of Tourte; was certainly influenced by Tourte both in the head design and in metalwork. Bows are typically stamped "EURY"
Féret-Marcotte He took over the bow business of Prosper Colas in 1919. With new hair and a hard straight stick of good colour. Circa 1920.
Fetique, Victor ( 1872 - 1933 )
son of Charles-Claude. Head of the
family was Charles Claude Fetique (1853-1911) who was a violin maker. He had two
bow-making sons, Victor Francois Fetique (1872-1933) and Jules Fetique
(1875-1951), and a daughter Marie Augustine Marthe Fetique (1879-1928). Victor
Francois Fetique had a son Marcel Gaston Fetique (1899-1977) and Marie Augustine
Marthe had a son Andre Georges Richaume (1905-1966).
Victor's training was formed by Husson
(Charles-Claude), Maline (Sigisbert) et Miquel (Emile). Worked in Paris with
Charles-Nicolas Bazin (the second) in 1901. Established himself in 1913. Other
than his son (Marcel) and his brother (Jules), Thomassin, Toussain, Rémi,
Morizot, Richaume and the German maker Paul Weidhaas (who Victor Fetique
trained) worked for him. One of the "Meilleur Ouvrier de
France" . Signed his bows Vtor Fétique. Was from a French family of bow
makers. He was apprenticed in Mirecourt, working for C.N.Bazin, before joining
Caressa & Français in Paris in 1901. From 1913 he worked independently. His bows
are patterned after those of Voirin, though less distinct. Characteristics :
Made in Paris, France c. 1920 Wood: Pernambuco Colour: Reddish brown, Shape:
Round but often Octagonal and very strong, Frog: Ebony with a Parisian eye, Mounting: Silver, Button: One-piece
silver cap, Lapping: Silver winding with a leather trim, Tip: Ivory, Weight: 60.5
grams. Below the stamp of a Victor Fetique bow. Fetiques have gone for between
$1,000 and $10,000. The price range tells you that some of the Fetique bows are
very fine and some may not be so good at all (for example, some bows, made in
the workshop were short grained and have now lost their original shape). Victor Fetique was capable of
producing some very good bows, but the attention of his atelier seemed to focus
on quantity, and thus the output is frequently of a more commercial quality.
Fetique, Jules ( 1875 - 1951 ) was brother of Victor Fetique, served his apprenticeship under Emile Miquel (Miguel) before joining & working for Charles Nicolas Bazin. From 1902 - 1912 he was assistant to Eugene Sartory, a collaboration which had a strong influence on his style. During this period he also worked for his brother, Victor Fetique. He joined Caressa & Français in 1917 (or maybe as early as 1912). He left Caressa & Français in 1934 and established his own workshop at Rue de Moscou in Paris with Andre Dugad, himself a former collaborator of Caressa & Français. Later his style changed and became more influenced by the school of Peccatte. His best works resemble and are comparable in quality to the bows of Sartory. Less stiff than Victor's bows, also slightly softer (but still of a certain moderate amount of firmness) and rounder. Solid, heavy bows ideal for powerful solo playing. In 1927 Jules received the diploma of "1er Ouvrier de France" and in 1937 the Diploma of Honour at the International Paris Exhibition. Some of Jules's bows are stamped Sartory; there a fewer Jules than Victor Fetiques, but Jules is considered superior.
Fleury, H. (Paris, 1900-1927). Strong sticks, modelled after Tourte, generally with whalebone lapping. Stamped “H. Fleury”.
Fonclause, Joseph (Paris 1800 - 1864). One of the best French makers. Was trained by Dominique Peccatte in Mirecourt and in 1820 went to Paris to work for Lupot, Tourte and for 10 years with Vuillaume from 1825. Made good progress under the guidance of Pajeot and Peccatte at Mirecourt. From 1840 he worked alone. Most of his bows are stamped, and some stamped “Fonclause” in broad lettering.
Fonclause, Henry ( c. 1812)
Français, Emile Marcel (1894) Pupil of Henri. Established own premises at Paris, 1938, the same shop where Lupot worked. Known as the “modern Vuillaume”. Made mainly mainly Instruments but from his workshop also produced many really fine bows with certain originalities. Stamped “Emile Français à Paris” in two places.
Gand Frères, Firm in Paris existed from 1855-1866. From 1866 it became Gand et Bernardel Frères. Bows branded “Gand Freres à Paris”. Beautifully cut - splendid sticks, not likely to warp. Usually of light weight. Artists impressed with the economic blending of strength efficiency and increased elasticity
Gaulard, François Jude (c. 1845) Mirecourt. The frog decoration - mother-of-pearl shields with mother-of-pearl suns set in black mastic - is typical of bows from Gaulard's workshop
Germain, Emile Born at Paris, 1853. Son of Joseph Louis. Apprenticed to the trade at Mirecourt, 1865. Succeeded to father’s business at Paris, 1870. Went into partnership with Dehommais until 1882. Worked alone, Also produced many truly excellent bows at reasonable prices. Substantially built, rather too heavy for some players, but of accurate balance. Some sticks have a remarkable satiny appearance. Stamped “E. Germain. Paris”.
Gerome, René Vincent (F-1910 / 1987). L. also Gerome, Roger Gold and ebony, France, 1960 weight 64.5g retails for $3,500 USA/2005 price.
Gillet, Louis (b. 1891) Great French maker who produced fine bows. Born in 1891, he was a pupil of Barbe at Mirecourt. Gillet worked with Eugene Sartory for over 15 years and his bows definitely show the Sartory influence. Worked at Nancy, 1925. and at Châlons-sur-Saône, 1927. This bow weighs 62grms and is in good condition. Valued at approx £4k GBP in 2008.
Guillaume, Pierre School in Brussels
Hell, (Hel) Pierre Joseph (1842-1902) Firm of instrument makers, also produced bows. Certain bows have an eye with a slide (black and white projected picture) of the maker Joseph Hell. Followed Darche in Bruxelles. Stamped “Pierre Hel”
Henry, Joseph (also known as Jacques) ( 1823 - d.1870 aged 46) Studied with Peccatte, Chanot and Simon in Paris. Established his own business there in 1851. His work is similar in style to that of Peccatte, and he is also known to have worked briefly with Simon. Peccatte’s two most well known pupils were Joseph Henry and Pierre Simon. Henry produced a bow similar to a Peccatte but of a somewhat lower general quality. Henry bows sometimes play very well but with the occasional exception seem slightly coarse by comparison with a fine Peccatte. Henry made many viola bows and used about five different brand stamps that are generally accepted. Chocolate coloured sticks. Had a speciality which is to be greatly admired, we allude to his “pique” work, consisting of elaborate designs in solid gold or silver, inlaid into nuts of tortoiseshell. Gold-mounted specimens stamped “Henry Paris”.
Holder, (Thomas) Jacques imported bows from Mirecourt school to London and then Cardiff. T.J. Holder worked for Jean Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris until establishing on his own. John Stagg (former WE Hill maker), in Bristol, UK, has one for sale at around £1.4k.
Husson, Charles (1846c-) son of Claude Husson with whom he apprenticed. In around 1880 he left the shop of Gand & Bernardel Frères to set up his own business. Joseph Andre Vigneron took up Husson's position at Gand & Bernardel.
Jammoneau, Michel Professionally trained French bow maker, working in France. A very fine playing bow. Excellent investment too. Made in 2002, 63.5 grams. ($4000 in 2004)
Jombar, Paul (1868-1949) Worked for Gand and Bernardel; established own workshop, 1892. The Violinist Hilary Hahn uses one of his bows. Paul Jombar was not a bow maker, but a shop ; hence the stamp of that name.
Lafleur, Jacques ( 1757 - 1832 ) Violin and bow maker. Apprenticed in Mirecourt, and under Francois Tourte. He moved to Paris in 1783. His bows resemble those of the early Adam school, and are considered rare. His bows are noted for their elasticity and lightness. Occasionally Maire and Pajeot fils used his brand name. His son, pupil, and successor was Joseph Rene Lafleur who initially started out as a violinist. His bows can be observed in the Museum of the Paris Conservatoire. He also made a bow with a flat stick. back to top. Outstandingly fine imitations of the Tourte, and so finely balanced, etc., as to frequently pass for original Tourtes. Seldom stamped with his own name.
Lafleur, Joseph Rene ( 1812 - 1874 ) Son of Jacques Lafleur, and initially a violinist, he surpassed the work of his father. He learnt much through observing existing bows, and was associated closely with Nicolas Maire. Like his father, made bows in the style of Tourte.
Lambert N. active in 1902
Lamy, Alfred Joseph ( 1850 - 1919 ) Studied in Mirecourt with Husson ( from 1862 - 68 ) and worked for Goutrot in Chateau-Thierry before working for F.N.Voirin in Paris ( 1877- 1885 ). Copied the Voirin model even when he continued on his own. In 1889 he received the silver and gold medals at the Paris Exposition. His son Alfred ( 1876 - 1944 ) succeeded him. By 1880 many makers were beginning to consistently aim for an even heavier, stronger model, with varying degrees of success. Alfred Lamy picked up where Voirin left off, with similar variance in weight and quality of materials. The best Lamy bows are very good but often feel stiff and unyielding, never coming close to equalling the beauty of tone, or nimble handling qualities of a fine Voirin.
Lapierre, Marcel Charles Born 1907. Established at Mirecourt, 1947. Maker of very fine bows much sought after by soloists." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers). Born 1907 in Mirecourt, his mother worked for the firm of Laberte. He trained with Jerome Thibouville-Lamy between 1921-1923. He worked for Brouillier & Lotte, F. Lotte, Bazin, Morizot, Ouchard and Vidoudez. The octagonal stick of a pernambuco of red-brown colour, silver mounted ebony frog inlaid with Parisian eye, plain silver adjuster. 64 grs. Valued at 2.75k in 2008.
LeCanu, Yannick World class Contemporary maker in Rue de Rome, Paris. He studied with Bernard Millant, Gilles Duhaut and Eric Grandchamp and now works in Lille. Prizes: Gold medal winner of "Concours du Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007". This competition takes place every five years. Youngest maker award (va) and mention spéciale (vn) Paris 1999; certificates of merit (vn & va) VSA 2002; certificate of merit BVMA London 2004; mention spéciale Paris 2004; gold medals (vn & vc) VSA 2006. Gold Medal winner (violin) VSA 2004, 2 Silver Medals Concours Etienne Vatelot 2004 Concours de lutherie et d'archèterie. Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007; 2 gold medals (vn & vc) VSA 2008 "Hors Concours"!!
Lorange Paul (F-1902 / 1969). L. Established himself at Lyon, his home town, before being associated with Paul François Diter in Marseille in 1927. Founded the firm "Diter & Lorange".
Lotte, François (b.1889 - d.1970) was a French bow maker. He received his training in the best French workshops. He worked for many French bow makers, shops and workshops, including Fetique, Morizot, Sartory, Ouchard, Bazin, Millant and many others. His bows are often stamped with the stamp of the shop or maker he was working for or not stamped at all. The bows are often nickel or maillechort mounted, of wonderful workmanship and good playing and sound qualities. Authentic Lotte bows are on increasing demand providing very good price/quality relation.
Lotte, Francois Roger Roger Francois Lotte, born 1922, was the son of bow maker Francois Lotte. He studied and worked with his father and took over the business in 1956.... although his father continued to be involved for several years after. Roger worked together with his father around 1930c. Bows by Francois Lotte, Mirecourt, c. 1940 price £4000 in the year 2004 - Another fine bow by Roger François Lotte stamped Charles Bailly. In nearly mint condition, almost without blemish and with the original grip. New hair. Circa 1940. Although quite a light bow it produces a nice clear tone and has good balance
Lupot, Francois ( 1774 - 1837 ) One of the sons of Francois I, and brother of Nicolas. He claimed to be a pupil of Stradivarius, but this has always been questioned. He invented the metal under slide ( fixed to the upper side of the frog, this piece reduces wear and tear caused by friction as you tighten and loosen the bow hairs ). His bows are considered among the best in France.
Maire, Nicolas ( Mirecourt 1800 - 1878 ) A member of the Mirecourt family of violin and bow makers. He trained in the Lafleur workshop in Paris, where he may or probably also worked with Pajeot. In 1833 he succeeded Jacques Lafleur. His work varies in style but is consistently of fine craftsmanship. Did not always stamp his bows. Maire's bows are very similar to those of Dominique Peccatte; the 2 are sometimes indistinguishable. Quite heavy bows.
Maline, Guillaume ( b.1793 d.c.1855 ) was a luthier (but was long considered to be the bow maker Maline).
Maline, Nicolas ( b. Feb 18 ,1822 d. April 28th 1877) Son of Guillaume, studied in Mirecourt, and then worked for Pajeot and Vuillaume, but often produced unbranded sticks. His bows were initially modelled on Pajeot's style, but later the hatchet type heads were modelled after Dominique Peccatte's style. The frog section are often of the Vuillaume type (round edged ferrules) and some of the earliest examples of this style, according to Millant and Raffin. Also some bows are of the self re-hairing type. Fine nickel mounted violin bow by Maline, dated 1840, around the time he came to Vuillaume - Vatelot certificate. "One of history's important bow makers. His successor was François Nicolas Voirin. Maline's bows are among the most recognizable of the finest 19th century French bows." - Filimonov Fine Musical Instruments
Malo, François Contemporary French-Canadian bow maker who trained with William Salchow and Stéphane Thomachot. A Cellist by training, François Malo cites his curiosity as a musician as the reason for his entry into the world of bow making. After studying for a year in Québec with the Strasbourg bow maker Yves Matter, he decided to broaden his knowledge in France. Finding a teacher in the closed community of bow makers is no mean feat. However, with his bows tucked resolutely under his arm, François Malo managed to convince more than one master bow maker to accept him as an apprentice. He obtained three Canada Council grants which enabled him to study with Gilles Duhaut in Mirecourt (the French capital of stringed-instrument making), William Salchow in New York, and the renowned Stéphane Thomachot in Paris. His clients include musicians from major Canadian and American orchestras, in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland, to name but a few. He is one of the judges at the Violin Society of America Competitions. He lives in Quebec, Canada. Bows branded F. Malo à Montreal
Martin, Jean Joseph , (b.1837) had served a typical Mirecourt apprenticeship and then perfected his technique in Paris at the Vuillaume shop before returning to Mirecourt in 1863 to start up his own firm. One bow is dated 1880 according to a Raffin certificate. Made many splendid bows, only a few branded with his name. “J. J. Martin”.
Millant, Jean-Jacques (b.1928-1998) son of violin maker Roger was
apprenticed in Mirecourt. Established at Paris, 1951. Industrious bow maker. His bows are of the Peccatte school. His cousin,
Bernard ( b 1929 ) produced bows similar in style.
Over the last quarter of the 20th century, the most important
bow-maker was probably Jean-Jacques Millant who made excellent playing bows
following the Peccatte pattern more or less faithfully. JJ Millant bows
function much as good facsimile Peccatte bows... some are quite stiff. The combination of choice of
materials, weight, strength, and flexibility make them excellent playing tools,
and bows by this maker are becoming increasingly desirable in the market today.
R. & M. Millant silver/ebony France c. 1935 64.0 g $5,500.00 in 2005 in USA.
One of the best early 20th Century French Bow makers. He was still living in
1992, and his Gold mounted bows were only made during his last years as a maker
(or from the 60s until he stopped working in the 80s). Aside from
producing bows in a variety of mounts (S/E, G/E, G/T, G/I) JJ Millant, also
produced a number of his own patented design bows, with that unusual frog (in
variety of mounts). Due to lack of demand, he abandoned the idea. Towards the
end of his life he produced bows mainly gold ebony mounted. G/T is more rare.
Gold / Tortoise shell are limited editions. His top bows go for $15k+.
Millant's talent was celebrated in 1970, when he was awarded the title 'Un de
Meilleurs Ouvriers de France'. After this award he became a member of the Jury
of the same competition.
R. & M. Millant silver/ebony France c. 1935 64.0 g $5,500.00 in 2005 in USA. One of the best early 20th Century French Bow makers. He was still living in 1992, and his Gold mounted bows were only made during his last years as a maker (or from the 60s until he stopped working in the 80s). Aside from producing bows in a variety of mounts (S/E, G/E, G/T, G/I) JJ Millant, also produced a number of his own patented design bows, with that unusual frog (in variety of mounts). Due to lack of demand, he abandoned the idea. Towards the end of his life he produced bows mainly gold ebony mounted. G/T is more rare. Gold / Tortoise shell are limited editions. His top bows go for $15k+. Millant's talent was celebrated in 1970, when he was awarded the title 'Un de Meilleurs Ouvriers de France'. After this award he became a member of the Jury of the same competition.
Millant, Bernard (b.1929 -) Son of Max
Millant. The great-grandfather of Bernard was the cousin of Eugène Sartory.
Maker, Collector and Co-author, with Raffin of "L'Archet Français". Made 1st
violin aged 13, then went to Mirecourt at 17, then spent a year in the workshop
of the Morizot brothers. In 1951 started his own workshop in Rue de Rome 56,
where he remained ever since. Liked to copy Dominique Peccatte model.
Miquel (Miguel) (1851-1911). Worked at Mirecourt. Also produced bows at a guinea which have considerable analogy with the standard models, quite superior to the many “trade bows” which frequently entrap that portion of the public easily misled by cheap prices. His son (born 1889) was his pupil and successor.
Moinel, René Joseph (F-1889 / 1932).
A. Born and died in Mirecourt. René worked for Cuniot-Hury (1906).
Moinel-Cherpitel A French Violin shop producing bows and instruments at the turn of the century. Some bows stamped Moinel Cherpitel have been attributed to Bazin.
Morizot, Louis (Père) Great French bow maker (1874-1957). He worked in Mirecourt in France in 1925. Louis Morizot worked with Cuniot Hury, CN Bazin, and then Eugene Sartory before returning to Mirecourt to open his own atelier. He won the Grand Prix in 1924, and then a gold medal three years later. It became a family dynasty, with his five sons taking over the shop in 1937. An example Louis Morizot silver/ebony, France made c. 1935 weight 58.5g $3250 USA/2005 prices. Louis Morizot: "Atelier at Mirecourt, 1925. Assisted by five sons. Presented magnificent handmade bows. Admired by artists, connoisseurs, and amateurs. Made of rich material and very artistically mounted. A maker who has consecrated his activities to the highest artistry. Obtained highest award at the Exposition Artisanale, Paris, 1927." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers) Valued at £3,300 GBP in 2007. His bows are similar in standard to Louis Bazin, but on the whole inferior to those of CN Bazin. Orange brown in colour. Assisted by five sons. Presented magnificent handmade bows. Admired by artists, connoisseurs, and amateurs. Made of rich material and very artistically mounted. Obtained highest award at the Exposition Artisanale, Paris, 1927.
Müller, Stephane studied with Bernard Ouchard at Mirecourt and after travelling in Brazil to improve his knowledge of Pernambuco he established a workshop in Toulouse, France in 1984. Prizes: bronze (viola) Paris 1999.
Nehr, Gilles Contemporary French Bow maker. Homepage Giles apprenticed with his Cousin, Jean Pascal for 3 years in Marseille. He then worked in Toulouse at the Stephane Müller workshop, and after two years was invited to Rene Morel's shop New York City as sole bow maker in residence. In 1999 he opened his own workshop in Manhattan, but 3 years later returned to Europe, settling in Lisbon, and from 2004 in Rome where he lives today. Gilles Nehr won a Certificate of Merit in BVMA London 2004.
Nehr, Jean Pascal (gold & tortoise) ‘Meilleur Ouvrier de France’, studied with Bernard Ouchard at Mirecourt and now works in Marseille, France. Prizes: Certificate of merit for workmanship Manchester 2001.
Ouchard, Emile Francois (1872-1951 or 1934) Also know as simply Francois Ouchard: Great French bow maker and Father of the more prestigious Emile August Ouchard. Studied with Eugene Cuniot-Hury at the age of 14, and succeeded his business setting up his own shop in Mirecourt in 1923 or 1824. An example violin bow is from circa 1940 with a Raffin certificate. Emile François Ouchard, stamped Pillot a Paris. Silver mounted and with a hard straight Pernambuco stick of good colour. Condition is excellent. Circa 1900.
Ouchard, Emile August ( b. Mirecourt, Vosges 1900 - Gan, 1969 ) was son and pupil of Emile François Ouchard. Worked in Paris from 1940-46, Chicago from 1946 and then New York. He was awarded several gold medals for bow making.His bows are similar to those of the Voirin-Lamy school, and are said to use the fortified Voirin model. Therefore the heads are typically rounded and bell-shaped. In a London shop in 2004 a violin bow by Emile Auguste Ouchard, Paris, c1940. Round stick, mounted with silver and ebony has Price £7,500. In 2007 London price is £10,000. Paris retail price in 2008 is Euro 10,500. Following Sartory, E. A. Ouchard produced an even heavier and stiffer type of bow. Frogs are rounded and often with Parisian eye. There are some Ouchard bows that perform beautifully as tools, but some of them are just too stiff to be considered optimal as playing tools. Ouchard's stiffer bows come mainly from his time in America, towards the end of his life. His earlier bows are usually much more supple. Produced many bows which are stamped with different firm brands, such as, George Cone and Sons, Lyon and Boulengeot. Magnificent bows with beautifully carved heads, perfect balance, and superb sweep of stick, finely selected Pernambuco wood, mounted in silver or gold. Lewis & Son (Chicago) chief distributors. Stamped “Emile Ouchard”.
Ouchard, Bernard (1925 - 1981) Son of Emile August Ouchard. A Silver Violin Bow by Bernard (Probably Geneva, c. 1970) was priced at 2,430-3,240 $ in 2004 - Responsible for the great comeback of the French Bow making school ; Bernard, ( b.1925 ) became a pupil of Emil August (his father), and worked with Vidoudez in Geneva before being appointed professor of bow making at the Mirecourt school in 1971. in 1971 he returned to Mirecourt where he founded a new school of bow makers, training Raffin, Stephane Thomachot & possibly the Belgian Edwin Clement, and subsequently indirectly inspired the newest generation of award winning makers including S. Bigot, Gilles Nehr and Yannick LeCanu.
Paquotte, Jean Baptiste (Mirecourt, 1827-1900). Nephew of Sebastien whom he assisted for eight years. Worked fourteen years for Lafleur. Succeeded to his Uncle’s business at Paris, 1863. Exclusively devoted his energies to bow making during several years of his youth. Ultimately drifted into violin-making and became rather celebrated for repairing as well as for expert knowledge of old instruments. These violins have the fault of certain unequal thicknesses, and are often found to be too strongly made for absolute responsiveness of tone, but their exterior beauties are so plentiful that an avowal of approbation cannot altogether be suppressed. Noble-looking scroll, handsome wood, and varnish of considerable suppleness.
Pajeot, Etienne ( 1791 - 1849 ) His father, Louis Simon ( c.1750 - 1792 ), was also a bow maker. Pajeot was a student, then a business partner of Nicolas Maire. Produced excellent but rare bows. He was one of two bow makers who used metal thumb facing on the frog. His stamped bows are valued at the highest prices at around £30k GBP or higher in 2007. Pajeot's bows, while strong, possess a little more "give" on the strings, producing a very warm sound. Obtained an honourable mention in Paris, 1834, for splendid finish of his work. Employed largely by Lafleur. He and his assistants operated successfully on a large scale and turned out 8,000 various grades of bows varying in prices from a shilling to a guinea. Consequently many are of ordinary finish. Finest examples are of light weight, generally clear yellow wood with enlarged veins, gold mounted, perfectly balanced and remarkably strong. Sometimes worth five guineas. Branded “Pajeot”. £65 in 1960.
Peccatte, Dominique (Mirecourt 1810 - 1874) Apprenticed to a violin maker in Mirecourt, he soon worked in the workshop of J.B.Vuillaume, from 1826 - 1837. Here he studied with Persois, and also met Tourte. Like Voirin his early bows were sometimes stamped with the name of Vuillaume. By 1837 he had taken over the workshop of Lupot. He returned to Mirecourt in 1847 for the rest of his life. He seldom used a stamp mark, making his bows hard to distinguish. His bows are considered second only to those of Tourte. Dominique Peccatte, (who is presumed to have learned his craft with Persoit, and apparently worked in the Lupot atelier as well, before a stint in the Vuillaume workshop) continued the trend with a bow patterned after Tourte’s strongest, heaviest model. The Peccatte concept for a bow was generally heavier than anything before him in France, and his output was vast and consistent. If not as flexible as earlier bows, Peccatte bows are still normally fairly flexible; the increase in weight from earlier concepts makes Peccatte bows well suited to the production of the volume of sound and degree of articulation appropriate to large, modern concert halls. The Peccatte bow is one (but not the only) ideal compromise in terms of tone production and handling. Although it neither produces the beauty of tone of a Tourte, nor handles with the nimbleness of a Nicolas Kittel, a fine Peccatte does everything it must do very well, and with a thick rich sonority. Peccatte heads are typically hatchet or square shaped. The chamfer thickness of a Peccatte is usually at its widest in the middle of the bow head. The knife or file mark chatter or judder on the chamfer should be clearly seen as leaving a rather constant pattern, quite equidistant from one to the next, and at a certain angle to the verticality of the chamfer. Had a marked preference for round sticks generally of dark chocolate colour. Heads somewhat vary, but always very strong - the outstanding characteristic being a rather original sharpness towards the peak, only noticeable when viewed from the back instead of sideways. Others slightly more square. Ole Bull used a favourite bow by this maker.
Peccatte Charles, Son of Francois. Born at Mirecourt, 1850. Worked for Vuillaume, Voirin and Lenoble before opening own establishment at Paris, 1908. After the death of his Mother, Charles, freed from his ties with Lenoble, moved into his new home and workshop on the Rue de Valois. Here he moved into a more contemporary style of bow making also using different brand stamp. His meritorious bows have received consistent acknowledgement from soloists." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers). The chamfer on a Charles Peccatte tends to go a little higher into the throat (or the stick itself) on the audience side of the bow.
Peccatte, François (1820 - 1855) was Dominique's younger brother, also a good bow maker who worked in Mirecourt. His bow heads were less pointed than those of his older brother Dominique. Bows worth 60-70% of Dominique's.
Persoit, (Persois) Jean Pierre Marie ( b.1790s ? -1850) Employed with Vuillaume for 15 or 18 years from 1823-1841. His bows are stamped and resemble those of Tourte. Rugged, Earthy maker. Austere, but honest and direct style. Established own workshop at Paris, 1841. Owing to his identity being more or less hidden under the name of his employer, the specimens stamped with his initials are indeed very rare. Heads have the swan-throat peculiarity associated with the Tourte bows, and perhaps not inferior. Sticks generally round, of reddish shade, having a beautifully sweeping curve from the head. On every specimen we see the most minute exactness in every detail. Standard of true balance between strength and elasticity (the great desideratum in a bow) always maintained. Stamped “P.R.S.”
Pillot a Paris - Stamped “Pilot à Paris” or “Pillot ainé Paris” EF and EA Ouchard and Morizot Brothers are known to have made bows for Pillot. $1000-3000 range
Poirson, Justin Paris. French maker similar in range to someone like Claude Thomassin. Poirson is one of those makers whose output varied a great deal. There was a short period when he made superb bows, and then there was more of commercial grade (style and finish). Even though his early career showed promise, it was not as brilliant as those of his contemporaries. From 1890 his production deteriorated from year to year and took on a fairly heavy, almost coarse aspect towards the end (1925). Poirson did work for Vuillaume. It was there that he met the best Great makers of the time including Voirin. Just a side note about Justin Poirson. Poirson and Thomassin both vary in weight, wood selection and quality... they also produced bows for some of the same firms from time to time. Both makers can be priced from $6K upwards (silver mounted bows). Remember, at 6K, the bows are priced roughly the same as bows from workshops like Bazin or Morizot (really, the next tier down). I understand that he met an unfortunate demise. Apparently he was assassinated. Does anyone know the circumstances of his death? It seems curious that a violin or bow maker would be a target of assassins.
Poullot, Jacques & Monique - Contemporary French bow makers
Raffin, Jean François Contemporary French expert, maker and reputable firm / shop in Paris. Mr Raffin is currently the World's foremost expert on French bows, and together with B. Millant wrote the definitive volume on historic French bows entitled "L'Archet" Featuring French bow makers including detailed photos of their bows. Considered the new basic reference book A comprehensive encyclopaedia of French bow makers that brings together years of research in three (actually four) expansive volumes. The informative text in French, English and German is accompanied by hundreds of photographs. Text in English, French and German. 4 Volumes, ca. 1500 pages, more than 3000 colour photos. This book is priced at around £1000 GBP. The following contemporary bow makers S Bigot, Jean-Luc Tauziède, T. Kovacs, JB Lee (Second of the Concours du Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2007) etc. were trained in the Raffin workshop
Rolland, Benoit Website Contemporary French master bow maker and violinist. Studied violin making with Jean Eulry, and a decade later switched to bow making, working for Bernard Millant. His Spiccato bows are thought to be the world's best carbon-fibreglass bows. The flexibility of the bows can be altered by an invisible adjusting system. He also makes traditional Pernambuco bows. The Fetique family handed him down a fine stock of high quality wood. A very exacting and precise workmanship is evident. Moved to Boston, USA. Has made more than 1200 bows in 2007. If you view the precision of workmanship in a Rolland bow you will note that many of the Classical Historic French makers didn't make bows very well; certainly many were made to much lower standards than a Rolland from a craftsmanship point of view. Of course, inspiration and expression were never lacking.
Richaume, Andre Georges ( born in Mirecourt on 08/02/1905 and died in Paris on 31/03/1966. ) Apprenticed with Emile Francois Ouchard in Mirecourt, before joining his uncle, Victor Fétique in Paris. He worked on his own from 1923 to 1957. Was named " Meilleur Ouvrier de France " Supplied fine bows to other Parisian makers under his own brand. The fact that Richaume was apprenticed with Emille Ouchard Père and later his uncle Victor Fetique resulted in a bold and artistic style of making that one can clearly see in his bows. Etienne Vatelot 'Les Archets Français' (Second edition published by Sernor - M. Dufour) states in Volume 2 page 808 "One of the most remarkable bow makers of his generation". Christopher Brown 'Discovering bows for the Double Bass' 1994 Beaux Arts Editions page 173 writes "One of the great French bow makers of the 20th century". The violinist David Oistrakh used a bow by Richaume throughout his life. Below : a couple of Richaume bows ; silver mounted strong octagonal sticks, well made, of very precise workmanship.
Sartory, Eugene ( 1871 - 1946 ) was taught by his father in Mirecourt. He went to Paris in 1890 and worked for Charles Peccatte and Alfred Lamy before setting up on his own in 1893. He fortified the Voirin model, producing sturdily built bows with strong shafts. The heads are rounded and bell-shaped, like a Voirin. His bows are marked "Sartory". The apex of the trend toward heavy, strong bows was exemplified in the output of Eugene Sartory, who developed a style of bow to which his atelier adhered consistently for decades. Vigneron and Jules Fetique produced bows that at times could rival a Sartory in terms of strength and handling, but the consistency of Sartory bows has made them a perennial favourite among musicians even if they lack some of the subtlety of older bows. But Sartory bows are utterly reliable as playing tools. Authenticity tip ; as with many other bows, a further stamp Sartory can be found under the wrapping. "Pupil of his Father; worked for Peccatte in Paris before 18th year; and for Lamy several years. Ultimately opened own workshop at Paris. Recipient of medals and diplomas at Brussels, 1887; Lyons, 1894; Liege, 1905; Milan, 1906 and London, 1908. Decorated "Officier d'Academie" Paris. Bows universally admired. Appearance brings up memories of a Voirin bow, though the head is less refined. Often beautifully balanced sticks of Pernambuco. All orchestral players greatly admire his productions." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers). Early (1910) Sartory bow heads are more feline and gracefully shaped than later bows which have fuller and more angular heads.
Silvestre & Macoutel French firm / shop at the turn of the Century.
Simon, Barthélémy long lost brother of Pierre. Little is known about him. His bows were stamped Pierot, after his wife's name. Barthélémy lived to the age of 73, and was always known as a bow maker in Mirecourt, but alas his work is unknown to this day.
Simon, Pierre (b.1808 - d.1882,
aged 73 & later known as Paul Simon)
Became one of the most important makers of his time. He worked in Paris
for Peccatte, Vuillaume and Gand Frères. In 1847 he purchased Peccatte's
business. His bows have 2 distinct head models, one his own and the other
based on a Peccatte model. Not much is known about his early work. He probably
apprenticed from the age of 12 in Mirecourt, working for someone like
Pajeot (speculation based on the elegance of his work by P. Child).
Arrived in Paris in 1838. Probably started making bows at least as early
as 1827. However, the earliest bow attributed to Pierre, according to
Raffin & Millant, was made for Vuillaume and dates back to 1845 when
Pierre was 37 years old. Simon entered partnership with Joseph Henry from
1848-1851. Simon was one of the most skilled makers ever. He made bows on
several patterns and of varying weights. Sometimes he used a model similar
to the Peccatte interpretation of Tourte, and these heavier Simon bows
play similarly to Peccatte bows. But the classic, bell-shaped Simon head
is derived from an earlier Tourte model. These tend to be lighter and more
flexible than the classic Peccatte model. The finest Simon bows can have a
highly attractive, lithe flexibility and a genuine beauty of tone. to have made octagonal bows either for himself or for
Vuillaume. Pierre made few or no viola bows. The chamfer of a Simon bow
follows a large, generous curve which can be seen from the profile. Also,
the chamfers are quite symmetrical in a Simon bow. Pierre made bows for
Vuillaume, , , Chanot and Bernardel et Fils. Pierre's brother, Barthélémy, younger by two years, was also a bow
to have made octagonal bows either for himself or for Vuillaume. Pierre made few or no viola bows. The chamfer of a Simon bow follows a large, generous curve which can be seen from the profile. Also, the chamfers are quite symmetrical in a Simon bow. Pierre made bows for Vuillaume,Gand Frères
,Gand & Bernardel Frères
, Chanot and Bernardel et Fils. Pierre's brother, Barthélémy, younger by two years, was also a bow maker.
Sirjean, of great distinction
Tauziède, Jean Luc homepage Contemporary maker. Born in Anglet (Basque country-France) a seaside resort located between the cities of Bayonne and Biarritz forty two years ago. Father was an aeronautic engineer and Mother was an organ player, and teacher in music college (CNR Bayonne) . I used to be a cello student (of Jacques Doué) before dedicating my life to Bow making. In 1992 Jean-François Raffin, offered me to come and work in his Parisian workshop, in order to learn the trade . I have been his assistant till 1997. Since then, I have been working in the Basque area, my native country, implementing the know-how which Jean-François Raffin, Stéphane Thomachot and Jean Grunberger taught me. My main activity consists in the making of fine classical bow models for violin, viola, cello and double bass, including older models of the transitory and baroque periods. I also work for the restoration and maintenance of quartet bows. May 17, 2011- Filimonov Fine Violins is proud to announce that both Sylvain Bigot & Jean-Luc Tauziede won Gold Medals at 2011 Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition.
Thibouville-Lamy, Jerome ( JTL complete name Louis Emile Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy or J.T.L.) (F-1833 / 1902). A superbly balanced and elegant silver mounted bow circa 1920 from this Mirecourt manufacturer. The round stick feels just right in the hand and the hair grips the string and pulls out sound really well. Branded J. Thibouville-Lamy and one side and on the other side D'apres Lamy. A nice large mother-of-pearl dot on each side of the frog. Settled at Mirecourt the day of his marriage (1861), The bow department was created with the help of Jean-Joseph Martin, in 1870. This shop closed in 1968.
Thomachot, Stéphane (living) Maître d'Art Website : World class contemporary French bow maker who has trained some of the most eminent bow makers active today. He frequently judges at the most prestigious international bow making competitions. The modern revival and interest in bow-making has been led by makers such as Stéphane Thomachot in France. He made many bows including gold-mounted violin bows, however 90%, he tells me, are silver mounted. Thomachot has his own model which he has not deviated from for the last 15-20 years (similar to that of Sartory in feel but more supple). He makes quartet bows : violin, viola and cello, mounted on ebony and silver or ebony and gold. Thomachot's bow making style remains very personal, and is also inspired by the famous bow makers of the 19th century and early 20th century. Concerning the sound, the making is marked by the great masters of the first half of the 19th century. "There are three important things to consider in choosing a bow" renowned Parisian bow maker Stéphane Thomachot once told Strings magazine: "No.1 is the sound, no.2 is the sound and n.3 is the sound". To order your bow, please call us : Phone number : +33 (0)1 42 55 15 90 Fax number : +33 (0)1 42 52 33 99 E-mail : email@example.com A period of time of 3 to 6 months will be needed to make your bow. You may either come to the workshop to get your bow, or we will send it to you. Stéphane Thomachot, Archetier, Maître d'Art, Meilleur Ouvrier de France; Studio in 16 Avenue du général Leclerc 75014 Paris / Main Workshop or Atelier: rue du Mourre Fres 84160 Cucuron, France tel. +33 4 90 77 24 69, Prices in January 2008 are 3500 Euros for a silver violin bow and 5000 Euros for a gold violin bow (latest price in 2009 is 4000 Euro for Silver). I have ordered a bow (view it here)! View an example
Thomassin, Louis ( 1855 - c.1905 ) After working with Bazin in Mirecourt went to Paris in 1872 to work with Voirin, and later with Lamy. From 1891 he had his own workshop in Paris. Louis Thomassin, ca. 1880. Thomassin worked with Voirin, and continued Voirin's shop after his death.
Thomassin, Claude was son and pupil of Louis (Mirecourt 1870 - 1942 ) Studied with Bazin. also made fine bows in Paris, based on Voirin's model. Here is a description of one of Claude Thomassin's bows on sale : c.1920 Paris. This is a professional bow made of round orange-brown Pernambuco wood. The ebony frog is silver mounted with pearl eyes. The ebony end button has two silver rings. Very rounded ferrule or guard. The finger grip is leather with silver winding. The bow is branded with the maker's usual brand: "C. Thomassin A Paris". The bow weighs 61.5 grams. ($12,500 in 2004). Claude Thomassin has been called one of the best makers of his generation. He learned at the end of the 19th century in the Bernardel shop; stamped Gand & Bernardel, this is one of his earliest bows. He set up his own atelier in the Rue de Paris in 1901. Typical Claude Thomassin would be dated 1920.C. Thomassin a Paris silver/ebony France 60.9g $4,000 USA 2005 price (maybe too low). Several years head of the bow department at the Gand and Bernardel establishment, Paris. Opened own premises in the rue de Paradis, 1901. Bows which admirably realise that elasticity constitutes an inseparable part of strength. Beautifully designed heads. Chocolate coloured sticks thinly graduated, but so ingeniously as not to be incompatible with a certain amount of resisting power. Stamped “C. Thomassin à Paris”.
Tournier, Joseph Branded J Tournier Paris this silver mounted bow is a really exceptional item. A truly artistic head tops a near mint condition round stick of a red-brown colour while the fine playing qualities of this bow really do point to it being made by a top Archetier. The bows stamped by this violin maker were nearly all made by Louis Bazin, Louis Morizot & Fils or Emile A. Ouchard.
Tourte, Francois Xavier Le jeune ( 1747 - 1835 ) most famous maker of all times did not stamp his bows. Initially a clock maker, he went on to designed the modern bow, thanks to his apprenticeship with his father, Louis Tourte Père ( c.1720 - 1780 ) , also bow maker. The modern bow was approved of around 1785 or 86 by Spohr, who described them as having " trifling weight with sufficient elasticity of stick and the beautiful and uniform bending, by which the nearest approach to the hair is exactly in the middle between the head and the frog" as well as the "extremely accurate and neat workmanship" in Spohr's " Violinschule " published in 1832. Tourte designed it with Viotti's suggestions. Tourte, according to Fetis, fixed the length of the violin bow at 74 to 75 cm, the playing hair at 65 cm, and the balance point at 19 cm above the frog. The weight averaged at around 56 grams. Each bow fetched 15 Louis d'Or, and each bow, unless entirely faultless, was destroyed. He never varnished his bows but only rubbed them with pumice powder and oil. Tourte achieved his bend ( as is still done now ) by heating the wood thoroughly and then bending it. Up to then, bows had been cut at once to the desired bend. The Tourte pattern was followed by Dominique Peccatte, Nicolas Eury, Nicolas Maire, Francois Lupot, Joseph Henry and Persois though these followers did ( especially Peccatte and Voirin ) tended to make bows about 1 cm shorter.
Vigneron, Joseph Arthur ( b.31 July 1851 Mirecourt - d.13 June 1905 Maisons-Alfort aged 53) Studied with his step-father Claude Husson in Mirecourt. Here he was studying side by side with Joseph Alfred Lamy père (father of the Lamy family of bow makers), who was less than a year older than him. Vigneron worked with Husson until the latter's death in 1872, then he moved to the shop of Jean Joseph Martin. Before opening his own workshop in 1888 at 54 Rue de Cléry, Paris (less than 200 metres away from his old colleague Joseph Alfred Lamy père) he worked for Gand & Bernardel Frères from 1880. His bows were quite solid and followed his own individual style. Typical date of manufacture would be 1890... Whenever we take up one of these bows an involuntary exclamation of pleasure rises to our lips! A maker who decided on selecting the finest wood and worked it with loving care. He worked quickly, with powerful execution, without pondering nor fussing over the details. He worked with an assured and even hand ; irregularities or weaknesses are never found. He made a bow a day, it is said (or more like a batch of 6 bows per week). Bows made by a man upon whom nature had bestowed a mind deeply sensitive of the beautiful, and highly cultivated by experience. Vigneron had a fairly even camber along the stick. The curve was not like Voirin's, behind the head, but more in the middle of the bow, closer to the grip. Vigneron also designed bows with a bottom heavy cross section.. a sort of rounded triangular cross section which added stability to the bow (lower centre of gravity) These bows, some of which were longer by about 1cm, may have been designed in collaboration with the violinist Lucien Capet (modele Lucien Capet was often stamped on such bows). In the diagram of the bow cross sections, from left to right read: Normal / Andre bass / Model Capet. Irregularities and anomalies in the grain direction were well balanced and intuitively compensated for. Very elegant sticks with a fine and strong sway, and splendid heads overall giving the bow an uniquely individual playability. Vigneron's bow heads resemble a solid version of the Voirin school, and some have a feminine interpretation of a late period Pierre Simon. Mostly his bows are silver mounted, with solid buttons and matching Parisian eyes. Few of the past French makers surpassed him in refinement. (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers) Raffin & Millant in their book "L'Archet" write "Many musicians are unconditional admirers of the production of this great master." The chamfer of a Vigneron widens at the top as it goes into the stick. He was succeeded by his son André ( 1881 - 1924 ) a prolific maker in his father's style. Information on Vigneron appeared in an article from "The Strad" written by Bow Maker Mr. Matthew Wehling
Vigneron, Andre ( b. 19 Sept 1881 - 1924 aged 43) a prolific maker in his father's style. Apprenticed 12 years with his father, Joseph Arthur. Strong bows, heavier and more suited to modern playing. Some of Andre's bows were not as elegant as those by his contemporaries, though some were equal or surpassed the finest of his day. Andre's bows are considered good, but not as good as those by his father. Andre supplied unstamped bows to other makers in Paris. His Bass bows are excellent ; modern and strong, with lower centre of gravity (see cross section middle bow). In my experience, Joseph Arthur's bows have been more elegant, lighter, more refined than Andre's. Andre's bows are bold, sturdy and very strong, like a Victor Fetique or even stronger. Weight of a violin bow comes in at 63g. Made many bows known as the “Lucien Capet Model” with a wider “heel” than customary, and round chocolate coloured sticks.
Voirin, Joseph c.1870 typical dates of workmanship. Brother of F.N.Voirin. Born at Mirecourt, 1830. Worked for Gautrot at Château-Thierry near Paris; and at Paris, 1855-1867. Fine bows for bringing down the strongholds of fanciful bowings such as sautillé and staccato, etc. Majority of specimens do not bear his stamp, consequently remains comparatively unknown.
François Nicolas ( 1833 - 1885 ) in Paris,
Voirin was a cousin of JB Vuillaume. FN Voirin
was the brother of Joseph Voirin. He
was known as the "Modern Tourte". Made violins first. Apprenticed in
Mirecourt then worked in the workshop of Vuillaume at first ( 1855 until
1870 ). In fact his early bows were stamped with the name Vuillaume. He
produced a radically different bow from Tourte; Slimmer head; the camber
moved closer to head, yielding a stronger stick and reducing the thickness
of the shaft especially at the heel. A very, perhaps too light ( as low as
52 gr. ) but strong stick. At around 1870 most French makers, inspired by
Voirin were moving away from the Tourte-Peccatte school. These changes
were not only to the head, which was now lighter, rounder and more
feminine, but the camber curve is now concentrated in the third of the bow
directly behind the head. (Before Voirin it was in the middle third of the
bow.) Also with Voirin the heights of the head and frog were lower than
had been made previously. Voirin bows typically have a rounded bell-shaped
head. Voirin was often tempted by English makers and dealers to work for
them, but he always refused, saying his work belonged to his country. His
bows are stamped F.N.Voirin. Voirin taught Charles
Peccatte ( 1850 - 1920 son of François
Peccatte.) His followers were Alfred Lamy,
Louis and Claude Thomassin and Charles N Bazin. After he died his wife
carried on the business, often using his brand on his pupils' work. A
Violin bow by Francois Nicolas Voirin, Paris, c1860. Round stick, mounted
with silver and ebony costs
£10,000 in the year 2004 in a London shop. Francois Nicolas Voirin was the most skilled maker of
his generation, one of the finest makers ever, and he produced a uniformly
high quality product. But Voirin bows suffer from inconsistency with the
quality of wood, and many of his bows were produced on a lighter, smaller
model. The best Voirin bows are exquisite playing tools; they are strong
and nimble and produce a beautiful tone. These represent a relative
bargain in the market place since (it is generally thought) the general
price for Voirin has been held in check by their inconsistency in
playability (not quality of workmanship - read more because of his fairly
high number of light weight bows !). Voirin
chose a style of bow which is extremely fine; his workmanship was of the
highest quality. Bows were feminine, elegant precise and delicate.
Voirin chose a style of bow which is extremely fine; his workmanship was of the highest quality. Bows were feminine, elegant precise and delicate.He had the elevated and inspired theme of emulating Tourte, in refined workmanship and elegance, but made a new departure by making the heads less square and reducing the weight. These delicately worked heads have a marked thinning of the two faces, and to preserve balance, he reduced the diameter of the lower end of stick, which is sometimes actually smaller than the accompanying tip. Sometimes he exaggerated this head tenuity, arrived at too light a weight, which brought weakness after a few months’ playing.
Vuillaume, Jean Baptiste
( 1798 - 1875 ) was trained as a violin
maker in Mirecourt and later became one of the most famous French violin
makers of the early 19th century. He set up his own workshop in 1828. He
was a good businessman and of course a good inventor. For example he did
invent a hollow steel bow, and a self re-hairing bow, though neither these
inventions proved to be of lasting importance. He made a profound study of
F.X.Tourte's bows, and though he, himself was not a bow maker, he did
direct and supervise the work of his own makers. Bow makers who passed
through his shop were Dominique, Francois & Charles Peccatte, Joseph
Fonclause, Pierre Simon, Persois, Guillaume Maline & F.N.Voirin.
Although he probably did not make bows
himself, J.B. Vuillaume exerted a profound influence on bow making.
Vuillaume experimented with the design of the bow: innovations such as the
self-rehairing bow, by which a musician might change the hair without the
aid of a repairman, and the Vuillaume style frog and button, designed to
mitigate against normal wear and tear, as well as the invention of the
Steel bow, which while lacking in terms of warmth and beauty of tone,
handles remarkably well. None of these modifications or experiments have
had a lasting impact on subsequent makers however, and Vuillaume’s most
important legacy to the art of bow-making was his capacity to extract the
highest quality output from the many bow-makers who worked for him. In
particular, Nicolas Maline produced his most carefully finished and best
playing bows for J.B. Vuillaume. Other makers such as Charles Peccatte and
F.N Voirin made extremely fine bows for Vuillaume. Maline’s bows were
presumably influenced by Peccatte, whose bold hatchet head they seem to
emulate. While they generally do not possess the kind of subtlety and
colour nuance present in a fine Peccatte, Maline bows often play very
well, and the vast output of Maline’s atelier subsequent to his tenure in
the Vuillaume workshop gives us plenty of chances to become familiar with
the playing qualities of his bows after his affiliation with Vuillaume.
The Vuillaume bows are nearly always the best of Maline's output.
Belgian Bow Makers
Darche, Nicholas ; Belgium. Beautiful and rare professional bow in exquisite condition. $5600
Allan, Samuel (b.1858) - initially employed by Hill & Sons. Established his own business in 1891. Similar to Dodd. Very good bows.
Beare, John and Arthur, Wardour Street, London dealers and connoisseurs still active today; many good bows stamped with this name.
Bellis, Andrew Contemporary maker works in Bournemouth, UK. I do my best by making when I can and teaching the next generation, even rehairing is becoming a lost art (if you don't want your bow invaded by "superglue", that is). My teacher, at the same time as Roy Collins, was Arthur Bultitude, when Arthur was in his retirement years though still making. http://www.andrewbellis.com/
Bristow, Stephen E. Trained with Hill & Sons. Excellent Contemporary bow maker in the Hill tradition ; one of the best living English bow makers lives in the vicinity of Bristol, England. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and website http://www.bristowbows.co.uk/. Very reliable, strong bows. Recently tried an octagonal bow of 60 grs made from a fine dark, dense wood. Highly desirable bows.
Brown, James (b. London 1786) produced good Cello bows in particular.
Bryant, Percival Wilfred (b.1902, d.1994) Bryant gained a great reputation in his lifetime and was the only British bow maker to be directly trained by a French bow maker, latterly his copies of Dodd for classical period were superb. Bryant went to George Withers in Leicester Square as an apprentice after James Tubbs said he (Tubbs) was too old to teach him!! At Withers he started in 1920 and was taught by a member of the Husson family (Auguste, b.1872 d.1926) who also worked there probably after Victor Thomassin left (there was a working connection between the two families, and also with the Bazin clan). That Withers shop folded in 1932 so Percy left to go to the south coast (buying a plot of land at Ovingdean and building his own bungalow) and was therefore not only the first Englishman taught bow making directly from a Frenchman, but also the first genuine production bow maker to set up outside of London (as far as I know, anyway). The Thomassin bows that came out with his own stamp on are stamped T VICTOR, he reversed it to sound more British (??!) and thus cause a lot of confusion, otherwise they are stamped Geo. Withers & Sons. When Bryant started up in Ovingdean he bought a load of pernambuco that he considered not good enough for violin bows so he started making bass bows for which he rightfully gained a very good reputation. I first met him in 1987 and he gave me very valuable advice but he was very scathing about dealers (he once chased an Ealing-based dealer off his property and rather enjoyed telling the story) and some considered him eccentric. He wasn't - he was the definition of 'expert', kind and helpful. (Info courtesy of Andrew Bellis)
Bultitude, A.R. (1908-1990) His bows bear the makers brand stamp on each side of the handle and 'England' on the bottom facet. Made bows of the finest quality. Some bows are in the style of Vigneron with a profile that is a combination of half-round and a half-ellipse. The frogs often have the trade mark Tudor Rose emblem, the face is fitted with silver. On the sticks beneath the frog can be seen figures such as 58 75, recording that this would be the 58th bow made in the year 1975. In this year Bultitude was aged fifty. His production of bows was quite prolific. In some years between 130 to 140 bows were made.
Burke, Noel Ireland, trained with S. Thomachot. Bow maker of world repute / rather good modern bows / good sound / not too rigid. 89 Friars Green, Tullow Road, County Carlow, Ireland. Tel +353(0)59 9131948 email@example.com Gold medal winner at the Manchester International Cello Festival in 1998 and awarded 6 gold medals at the Violin Society of American Competitions in 1994 and 1996. He now lives in Ireland. In December 1999 he was awarded another gold medal for his violin bow at the Paris Competition.
Cocker, Lawrence excellent maker from the 1950's/60's. Cocker developed the built cane sticks after becoming frustrated with pernambuco (now made by Andrew Bellis see andrewbellis.com) under the 'taperflex' title. Especially apt at the moment now that pernambuco is 'threatened' (though there seems to be a lot around...) these bows play well and were very popular in the Midlands orchestras near him in Derby.
Collins, Roy. A very decent quality silver mounted bow suitable for a good student or as a second bow for a touring professional. The stick is in the style of bows made by Vigneron.
Dodd, John ( London 1752 - Surrey 1839 ) son of Edward Dodd ( Sheffield 1705- London 1810 ), who was also a bow maker, even though his bows were often unstamped. In fact it is not entirely certain whether father Edward ever lived ! However, John Dodd became the greatest English bow maker until Tubbs. He was a gunlock fitter and then a money-scale maker before turning to bow making. His later bows are particularly fine, though judged to be a little short. John Dodd was a contemporary of F. X. Tourte and worked in London. He made fine bows, but his measurements and quality of bows are never entirely consistent. For instance, some bows were made slightly shorter than the norm. Though Dodd was often in dire need of funds, it was recounted that he was very secretive about his art, and once turned down an offer of 1000 pounds sterling for a copy of his pattern. He also refused to teach pupils for the same reason. Dodd used 2 forms for the head ; the slender "swan" type and the squat " hammer " head type, more common in Italy and France. An excellent choice of Pernambuco wood was available to Dodd and much of this came to England in the form of Barrels. This explains the numerous traces of nail holes which sometimes run right through his sticks. According to Baillot, it seems that Viotti may have used a Dodd bow which was about 2½ cm shorter than the Tourte model. Many of Dodd's bows have this fault of not being long enough. He arrived at a similar bow design to Tourte, though through entirely independent means.
Hawkes & Son were prominent English dealers of a range of high-quality instruments and bows including Pedrazzini, Roth, Milton and Falise. In terms of bows they stamped fine French bows from Mirecourt c.1895.
Hill & Sons ( W.E.) designed own bow, English in character, from Dodd & Tubbs. Many 20th C English bow-makers passed through Hill workshops. The Hills used five different stamps, each one denoting a different quality level. They are, in order of quality top to bottom: W. E. Hill & Sons - W. E. H & S - Hill & Sons England - H & S - Hill. The last two are debatable as to which is the higher quality, but this is the order William Retford put them in. Kreisler used a Fleur-de-Lys Hill bow. Instead of re-haring them, he would stop at Hill & Sons and drop of a pile of bows and pick up a newly re-haired pile ! Like many great players he used different bows. Hill bows often have metal tips, and are often strong and sturdy, of the octagonal variety. They often combine good tonal qualities with superb reliability and strength. Entry level prices are around 2k GBP (2005-07 prices) and rise to £4.5k or more for the Fleur-de-Lys frogs.
Warning: There are fake Hill bows "floating around". They're easier to copy than some other bows because the shop was so meticulous about the workmanship being the same. But most of the copies are stamped "W. E. Hill & Sons" to make them more valuable.
Green, Howard. English bow maker. Homepage link. Itzhak Perlman has a couple of Green's bows and Ilya Gringolts plays on one and there many other top players using them
Taylor, Malcom Morris ( b.1933 ) Apprenticed with Hills & Sons, also working there until 1973. Set up his own workshop in Barnstaple, Devon . His pupils include John Clutterbuck, Stephan Bristow and Brian Alvey, all at Hill's.
Taylor, Michael John ( b.1949 ) Trained at Ealing Strings, London. His fine bows combine the Tourte model with a more sturdy and solid English framework.
Tubbs, James ( b.1835 d.1919 or 1921 ) Son of William. He worked in London, at first for W.E Hill & Sons. The most famous member of this bow-making family. An eccentric man, who made many highly individual bows. Strange action & balance require some getting used to. Together with his son Alfred ( d.1912 ) they produced more than 5000 bows. Another member of the family was Edward, who worked in New York around the turn of the century. Typical James Tubbs would be dated to c. 1900. "James Tubbs was born in London, 1835. Son of William. Worked for father until 1860... Received the special appointment of bow maker to the Duke of Edinburgh. It is impossible for any person who appreciates a fine bow, not to hail with unalloyed delight any of the productions of James Tubbs... This champion, completely disciplined, stepped forward to challenge the opinion that French bows were the only bows worthy of artists' acceptance, and, he won the day on this field he had entered. To say that he was the equal of Tourte, Peccatte, and Voirin, is not a wild and extravagant hypothesis." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers) It is universally accepted that James Tubbs (1835-1921) ranks among the five or six most important bow makers in history. The authority, Henley, calls him “this champion” and places him alongside Tourte, Peccatte and Voirin. String players generally regard his bows as extremely desirable, and will often go to great lengths to obtain one and collectors may pay huge amounts to own one. Henley says this about Tubbs, who was also appointed bow maker to the Duke of Edinburgh: ”Intimately acquainted with the minutiae or perfect balance, familiar with the diversified style of celebrated predecessors, trained by long study of all the laws, wisely assimilated suggestions from various violinists, brought a refined and mature tact in seizing all the bearings couched under strength and elasticity, imbued with a sincere love of artistry and profound reverence for its dictates, and withal, endowed with a natural gift of manipulative skill. Possessed every qualification peculiarly fitting him to produce everything replete with perfection.” This bow, stamped ”JAS TUBBS”, has a round stick of very dark brown Pernambuco – his preferred type of stick. The tip is silver-mounted and all other fittings are of silver. The original ebony frog has a simple mother-of-pearl eye. The stick is characterized by unusual lightness, combined with strength and truly perfect balance. Worked for father until 1860. Owned a small shop in Church Street, Soho, 1861. Moved to High Street, Marylebone, 1864. Employed by William Ebsworth Hill during these years, and specimens of his talent, bearing Hill’s name, are easily recognisable. Greatly patronised by the renowned quartettists at the Monday Popular Concerts, London, from 1865. Extended his reputation by splendid productivity. Engaged finer premises in King Street, Soho. Settled in Wardour Street, 1872. Lived some years also at Staines. Returned to Wardour Street, 1911. Received the special appointment of bow maker to the Duke of Edinburgh. It is impossible for any person who appreciates a fine bow, not to hail with unalloyed delight any of the productions of James Tubbs - valuable accessions to the realms of famous French examples. Intimately acquainted with the minutiae of perfect balance, familiar with the diversified style of celebrated predecessors, trained by long study of all the laws, wisely assimilated suggestions from various violinists, brought a refined and matured tact in seizing all the bearings couched under strength and elasticity, imbued with a sincere love of artistry and a profound reverence for its dictates, and withal, endowed with a natural gift of manipulative skill. Possessed every qualification peculiarly fitting him to produce everything replete with perfection. This champion, completely disciplined, stepped forward to challenge the opinion that French bows were the only bows worthy of artists’ acceptance, and, he won the day on this field he had entered. To say that he was the equal of Tourte, Peccatte, and Voirin, is not a wild and extravagant hypothesis. Artists have rendered it a matter of imperious necessity to possess one or more of Tubb’s bows, and take pride in triumphantly proclaiming the fact. Take any specimen, subject it to minute examination, test it in strength and lightness, and you will soon be aware of owning a real treasure, something to stimulate fine playing. Turned out about ten bows a month. Best period 1875-1895. Contour of heads rather varied but always very beautiful. Magnificent sweep of stick, generally round and of dark Pernambuco, but very occasionally of lighter colour. Wilhelmj owned a gold mounted presentation bow bearing the inscription “To Wilhelmj, from the Orchestra of the Wagner Festival, London, 1877”. The fame of Tubbs has led to the great multiplication of copies stamped with his name by the trade, particularly the German exporters.
Tubbs, Thomas ( c.1770 - c1830 ) witnessed the birth of the modern bow. The quality of his work was variable. His son, William ( c.1805 - 1878? ), was also a bow maker, though his bows are rare.
Watson, W.D. Made bows for W.E.Hill & Sons.
Walcher, Jutta was an apprentice with Garner Wilson and then worked with Matthew Coltman. Since 1995 her mentor has been bow maker Peter Oxley. Prizes: bronze Manchester 1998 and fourth prize (va) Paris 1999.
Wilson, Garner Contemporary bow maker. His Gold mounted bows sell for £2200 in the year 2004. One of the few modern makers to feature regularly in Sotheby's auctions. Trained by Bultitude. Website linkYeoman, Sydney (1876-1948) worked for Hill & Sons. Silver-mounted bow, stamped W. E. HILL & SONS, is almost certainly the work of Sydney Yeoman, who on some occasions used ivory for his frogs. The letters “Y Y”are stamped into the ivory slide surface and into the shaft, next to the lower mortise. Furthermore, the bows Yeoman made for Hill had the number 6 on the silver tip facing under the hair, and this bow bears the number “VI” (6 in roman numerals) below the top mortise. Another bow by Yeoman, identical to this one (also with an ivory frog), similarly has the Hill name stamped upside down into the shaft. The stick is octagonal and the lapping of whalebone with a leather thumb pad. The frog has a minor crack in the ivory on the far side but this doesn’t threaten the structural integrity of the frog. There are also two minor cracks in the ivory of the button. The tip has had 5mm of wood grafted onto the head, into which the top mortise is cut. This is an impeccable graft, which doesn’t threaten the bow’s security was probably executed in the Hill workshop, soon after the bow was made.
Bausch, Ludwig Christian August (Naumburg 1805 - 1871 ) Studied in Dresden with Fritsche and eventually set up his own firm in Leipzig (1839-1860). He combined the best elements of French and German styles, and achieved enough fame to be called the "German Tourte". Made dark chocolate round sticks, slightly long but strong and elastic. His 2 sons, Otto and Ludwig produced bows until 1908. He met Spohr in 1836 who gave him good advice on bow construction and balance. Joachim and Wilhelmj preferred his bows above French bows. In 1840 Bausch received a Silver Medal at Dresden. Stamped ‘Bausch. Leipzig’, or ‘L. Bausch, Leipzig’. Many stamped on stick under nut. Beware many factory made bows of today stamped "Bausch".
Baur, Martin (1793-1875) In 1824 established himself in Stuttgart. Heavy but fine bows.
Dörfler, WE, For more than three generations Dörfler have been producing bows with superior craftsmanship and in the style of the great master, Tourte. Daniel Dörfler, founder of the company, set himself the task of bringing the German bow construction to the Tourte level of quality. Egidius Dörfler has made the master workshop what it is today by means of perfection, high quality standards and artistic intuition. lt is for this reason that the master bows bear his name. Bows worth £400 GBP in 2007.
Finkel, Siegfried ( b.1927 ) From a Swiss bow maker family. They continued the work of Ewald Weidhaas in Markneukirchen. Siegfried studied with Ewald's son, Paul, also becoming Paul's son in law. He worked on his own in Brienz from 1952. His bows are well made Germanic versions of the Peccatte model. Seigfried taught his son and pupil Johannes ( b.1947 ). "Pupil of Weidhaas. Worked at Konigsberg (Prussia). Bows which splendidly reflect the traits of the French and German notabilities." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers)
Götz, Conrad A., Junior Worked at Wernitzgrün (Saxony), 1880. Later at Markneukirchen. Commercial instruments of all kinds, also bows and strings. Family business still exists.
Gutter, Fritz "Pupil of Pfretzschner and Nürnberger. Worked at Markneukirchen, 1919. Bows of high merit showing that the maker had consummate judgement of balance, lightness and strength." (Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers)
Hamming, Wilhelm Hermann Leipzig Violin shop. It is known that the Nürnbergers produced several bows for them.
Hermann, Lothar (b.1914) *** star bows.
Hermann, August Friedrich (b.1863-1943) Dresden maker in the style of Knopf.
Hoyer, Otto named "the Parisian", because he worked in France for some time with the famous bow maker Sartory
Hums, Albin Bow maker at Markneukirchen, 1925. Pupil of Knorr and Prell. Fine artist bows, used by several virtuosi. Some stamped with the name Henri Marteau in addition to his own.
Kittel, Nicholas of German origin worked in
Petersburg ( from 1839 to 1870 ) was known as the "Russian Tourte".
In Czarist Russia Nicolas Kittel served as
violinmaker to the court, and produced a unique style of playing bow,
often using beautiful, highly flamed wood. The design of Kittel bows is
also derived from an advanced Tourte model although this interpretation of
Tourte is distinctly different from the French interpretations. Kittel
bows are nearly always quite light and flexible. Despite their
flexibility, Kittel bows have extremely quick playing characteristics
alongside a unique beauty of tone. His bows
have the prime essentials of strength and elasticity. Light coloured chocolate round sticks especially fine. Stamped “Kittel”.
Knopf Heinrich, head of family of bow makers. Born at Markneukirchen, worked in Berlin and later in Moscow.
Knopf Henry Richard (b.1860-1939) son of Heinrich. Worked with Bausch and settled in New York in 1880. Inherited father’s talent for fine bow making and made 1,000, stamped “H.R. Knopf. New York”.
Mönning, August Hermann Worked at Markneukirchen, 1875-1927. Son Johann continued the business. Splendid artist bows for violin and ’cello.
Nürnberger, Franz Albert II Junior ( 1854 - 1931 ) Worked with his father, Franz Albert I, Senior ( son of Karl Gottlieb ) in Markneukirchen. His father founded the bow making school there. He ( Albert II ) established himself around 1880, using Vuillaume, Tubbs and Tourte bows as models. Around 1890 he introduced the first workshop stamp ALBERT NÜRNBERGER. His brand was also used by his son, Karl Albert ( b1906 ). The earlier bows are superior to the latest models with this family. Others include Johann Christoph, who worked for 5 years with Vuillaume and Philipp Paul, son of Albert II, who established himself in 1897. Franz Albert Junior's two sons were Philip Paul (1882-1946) and Carl Albert (1885-1971). Carl Albert developed the workshop into one of the top Addresses for bow making in the 1920s.
Karl Albert Nürnberger (b1906) This bow, stamped *Albert Nürnberger* would be the work of Karl Albert Nürnberger, who was born in Markneukirchen in 1906. He was of a long line of Nürnbergers which goes back all the way the the mid 18th century, and worked closely with his father in their studio. He produced bows of extreme refinement and exceptional quality. What makes this bow of unusual interest (and a potential collector’s piece) is that it was recently retrieved from obscurity and oblivion and appears to have been virtually unused since it’s making. It is truly in mint condition, as if made only yesterday. The bow is of high-grade Pernambuco, cut octagonally. The unembellished plain ebony nut is mounted in fine silver. The plain screw is of silver and the tip of bone. The bow is perfectly straight. Several of this maker’s bows are today in South Africa. They were imported into this country by the great Danish violinmaker, Amon Bilmark, who was based in Durban, and who recognized the exceptional quality of Albert Nürnberger’s work. During the Second World War Nürnberger and his family were hard hit by food shortages and lack of materials, and Bilmark used to send him food parcels and other necessities in exchange for his bows. Most of the Nürnbergers we in have in South Africa, are here as a result of this exchange Bilmark had with this great German bow maker - A further note of interest is that during the difficult war years Nürnberger could not obtain silver or mother-of-pearl to mount his better bows in, and many of his finest sticks were mounted in nickel and plain ebony frogs, often with inferior mother-of-pearl. Yet, this particular bow is mounted in silver with fine mother-of-pearl. This would signify that the bow was either made well before the outbreak of the war, or some time after the war. I opt for the period before the war, because apparently Bilmark stopped imported these bows soon after the war was over
Nürnberger Brothers Many of the family members stamped their bows "Albert Nürnberger." The line begins with Christian Gottlob Nürnberger (1792-1868), who learnt his trade in Christian Wilhelm Knopf's Markneukirchen workshop, was the first of the family to be recorded as being a bow maker and citizen of Markneukirchen (according to the Town's 1824 address registry.) Franz Albert I Nürnberger Senior (1826-1895) was the son of Christian Gottlob (Karl Gottleib) Nürnberger. He founded (along with his son Franz Albert I Nürnberger Junior) the bow-making school in Markneukirchen in 1888, and instructed there for twenty-five years. He was supposedly a student of Bausch. Frantz Albert II was an established bow maker around 1880. He became one of the the most prominent bow makers in the world. Some of the family productions are more of the "shop" variety. Others rival French bows
Paesold, Roderich Bow maker at Bad-Brambach, 1925. Family of Bowmakers; Silver/ebony Germany 2004 62.5g $445.00 and 2007 UK prices are around £800 GBP. Very good all round student bows. Stars represent quality * ** ***
Prager, August Edwin (similar to Bausch and Knopf)
Pfretzschner, Carl Richard c. 1860 bow valued at £2k in 2008.
Pfretzschner, Herman Richard ( b.1857 ) was first a pupil of his Father, Richard Pfretzschner, then he became the last pupil of Vuillaume in Paris for about a year. He established himself in 1880, opening up his first workshop in Markneukirchen, in Germany, working on the Tourte and Voirin models. He created the "Wilhelmj" bow in collaboration with the great Violinist Wilhelmj. His sticks are not varnished. ( common with German bows ). Pfretzschner worked for J.B.Vuillaume for a year (1874) in Paris. This full-length model perfectly demonstrates what a brilliant maker he was. The head is elegantly carved and has neat, precise chamfers. The stick is round and made from wonderful dense Pernambuco that is of an attractive light brown colour. It is strong yet full of elasticity. The frog bears a royal court-of-arms brand. In 1901 Pfretzschner was appointed the title of Bow maker to the Royal Saxonian Court. Bows after this date were stamped with this brand. He supplied bows to the Royal Court of Dresden, and to the Symphony Orchestras and Conservatory in that city. This superbly balanced bow is a delight to use. Silver mounted. From the Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers : "Went to Paris to study with Vuillaume. Founded his bow making establishment at Markneukirchen, 1880. received an appointment, 1901, from the King of Saxony, subsequently decorated by that exalted personage. Attained a world-wide reputation, possibly second to none. Beautifully balanced affairs, strong yet full of elasticity, backed up by the neatest workmanship and best mounting in silver and gold, etc. All harmony in perfection and nothing wanting to complete the fascination of the whole." Some of his bows were made for the French firm Silvestre & Macoutel. Of the large Pfretzschner family of violin and bow makers, René Vannes singles out Hermann Richard Pfretzschner (1857-1921) as follows: ”Pfretzschner is considered as one of the foremost German bow makers whose work has universal renown.” Henley writes of his work: ”He attained a world-wide reputation, possibly second to none. Beautifully balanced affairs, strong yet full of elasticity, backed up by the neatest workmanship. (…) All harmony in perfection and nothing wanting to complete the fascination of the whole.” Although German, H. R. Pfretzschner went to Paris to study with Vuillaume. As it turned out he was Vuillaume’s last pupil. He afterwards established himself in Markneukirchen, in 1880. In 1901 he was appointed by the King of Saxony as bow maker to the Royal Court of Dresden. This bow, of Pernambuco cut into a round stick, shows the characteristics of about 100 years of use. A very slight degree of wear in the wood is evident at the grip and along the shaft, and the thumb pad is somewhat worn, but for the rest the stick is sound and perfectly straight. The ebony nut has a simple mother-of-pearl eye and the metal fittings are in silver. The tip is ivory. Excellent playing properties. Hermann Richard learned the craft of bow making from his father Carl Richard in Markneukirchen. After the finish of his apprenticeship he decided to study the craft of bow making in Paris, where the bow making was very high developed at that time. He became 1873 the last pupil of the famous violin- and bow maker Jean Baptiste Vuillaume (1798-1875) in Paris. Vuillaume worked after the tradition of the great French master Franz X. Tourte (1747-1835) who gave bows the current form of today and used at first time Pernambuco wood. This short time of learning should give Hermann Richard new ways of influence for his following life and should influence the whole German bow making. Hermann Richard founded his own company in Markneukirchen 1880, which he had been leading very successfully. He received in 1901 the famous title "Königlich Sächsischer Hoflieferant" (purveyor to the court of Saxony). From now on he was allowed to stamp the "king's coat of arms" on the frogs of his bows. 1911 he also received the title "Großherzoglich Sächsischer Hoflieferant" from the "Großherzog of Sachsen Weimar". He probably had been the only master of bow making ever, who received those titles. The bows from his early working period (before 1900) usually show the influence of the models from F. N. Voirin. After this time, he made bows following a number of French and English models without, however, losing his own style. A number of his many bow models were named after famous musicians of this time and he was particular fond of his so-called Wilhelmj-model. The competition of the violin bow found Hermann Richard Pfretzschner in cooperation with the famous violin player Prof. August Wilhelmj (1845-1908). Together they developed the Wilhelmj-model after their meeting in 1903. Later on, Hermann Richard patented this model name. In the year 1914 he turned over his firm to his two sons Hermann and Berthold Pfretzschner; both learned the craft of bow making from their father. In the workshop at that time, there were made a remarkable amount of bows of different quality and price categories. Additionally from the beginning on there were made a lot of bass bows after different models, which have still been requested a lot until today. After the death of his uncle Hermann, Horst Pfretzschner, who learned the craft of bow making from his father Berthold, took over 1958 the company. After the more and more difficult development for independent craftsmen in the former eastern part of Germany DDR, Horst was forced to put his company in the PGH Sinfonia, which was a organisation led by the state. This organisation turned over in 1972 to the VEB Sinfonia, a so called "Volkseigener Betrieb" (company controlled and lead by the government), which joined together 1985 to the VEB Musima. The brothers Heinz and Richard learned then from their father Horst and grandfather Berthold in the family workshop in Markneukirchen the craft of bow making. The bows of the workshop have always been stamped from generation to generation with the traditional family stamp "H. R. PFRETZSCHNER" and the Saxonian king's coat of arms in the frog.
Pfretzschner, F. C Neither the French authority, René Vannes, nor William Henley lists F. C. Pfretzschner. However, this bow has all the characteristics of excellent workmanship associated with the Pfretzschner family, and the catalogues of some leading auction houses and dealers offer this maker’s bows. This bow is old, probably dating from the beginning of the 20th century and shows some wear of the wood at the grip, which is characteristic of a bow that was well-used and appreciated. The excellent Pernambuco stick, cut octagonally, bears an ebony nut with a somewhat small mother-of-pearl eye. The fittings are of nickel and the tip appears to be in ivory. It has excellent playing properties for any discerning violinist : light yet firm, allowing for good string contact; well-balanced with excellent and easy spiccato.
Prell, Hermann (ca. 1875 - ca. 1925) set himself up in Markneukirchen in 1898, although before World War I he supposedly worked for a short time with Eugene Sartory in Paris. The head of his bows are fine copies of original Sartorys; the bows may be stamped " Herm. W. Prell," in very small lettersSchuster, Adolph Curt (1890-1947) The Schuster family of violinmakers and bow makers that operated mainly in Markneukirchen, is huge, with dictionaries listing between 20 and 30 names. This bow is certainly the work of Adolph Curt Schuster. The octagonal stick is of fine Pernambuco, perfectly straight, tipped in bone (or ivory). The unembellished plain ebony nut is mounted in Sterling silver (with matching screw), and bears the makers crest imbedded in the wood. The bow is stamped Adolf C. Schuster (Adolf spelt with an f). The bow shows evidence of much use, but is in good condition. It is light and has excellent playing properties.
Wanka Christian studied bow making for 3 years
with his father and worked in Toronto before returning to work in the
family workshop in Baiersdorf, Germany.
Wanka Herbert studied bow making at Bubenreuth 1952-55 and worked for Gotthard Schuster for many years before setting up his own workshop in 1971. He now works in Baiersdorf, Germany.
Weichold Richard Dresden Excellent German bows. Saxon Violin shop; It is known that the Nürnbergers produced several bows for them.
Weidhaas, Paul (1894-1962) worked in Paris, probably with Victor Fetique, before World War I. He established himself in Markneukirchen in 1918. His bows may be stamped with either with his own stamp " Paul Weidhaas," or with that of his employer, "Victor Fetique a Paris."
Winkler, Franz Products much recognised, c.
1920/1950. Original model (known as the Winkler), also imitations of the
Tourte and Voirin. Impressive and artistic.... perfect balance."
(Universal Dictionary of Violin and Bow Makers). Franz Winkler studied bow
making in Markneukirchen from Franz Heinrich Winkler, his father. He set
up on his own in Markneukirchen in 1896, travelling later to America,
where he worked in Philadelphia and Chicago. He returned to Europe in
1903, after a period spent in Paris he returned to Markneukirchen spending
the rest of his life there. He also owned a restaurant 'Weidmannsruh'
(Shepherds Rest) and also had a small farm
Bottoni, J ; Brazil; Octagonal bow; strong but lively; exquisite balance, 61.2grams. Mounted in gold and ebony. $2,000 in 2004
Carlesso, A ; Brazil; Octagonal, mounted in silver and buffalo horn. $1,200 in 2004
Chagas, C. - Brasil ; worked for Arcos Brazil
Horst, John ; An early group of Brazilian Makers, including Walter Violet and Marco Raposo.
Nilo, Jose working for Marco Raposo
Pereira, M ; Brazil; Round, silver mounted. Special Edition. $1,200 in 2004 - another bow is round, mounted in gold and ebony. Moderately light, lively bow. $2,000 in 2004. Pereira worked for many years for Arcos Brazil and was the first maker they sent over to the Pierre Guillaume school in Brussels (formerly J. P. Bernard school) for further training. He made "special edition" bows in both silver and gold for Arcos Brazil and in either late 2005 or early 2006 he left Arcos Brazil to become an independent maker. His slightly-stiff bows play well. Other "Special Edition" makers, of the Guillaume school, use the large eye rather than the usual Parisian eye.
Raposo, Marco ; (Formerly Arcos Brazil) A group of Brazilian bow makers, lead by Marco Raposo, established in 1995 in the Atlantic Forests of Brazil. The bows I have tried out are closer to French School bows than German in terms of softness. £350 for a Silver mounted Violin Bow stamped Marco Raposo... the individual maker would be a member of staff.
Santos, C. used to work for Water Violet and left around 2004 to become an independent maker
Schaeffer, Floriano octagonal Brazilian bow
Bolander, John A. Jnr. (active 1959) Californian Instrument and bowmaker in San José.
Salchow, William (Salchow & Sons bow makers) first studied bow making and repair under Simone Sacconi in New York and then at Mirecourt with Georges Barjonnet. He opened his own New York studio in 1960 where he has been making bows and inspiring bow makers ever since. Salchow Stephen was taught by his father, William Salchow and his nephew Isaac. He is currently making close copies of bows by Peccatte and Pajeot. Salchow Isaac studied with his grandfather, William Salchow and now works with Salchow & Sons. His bows are close copies of originals by Tourte, Persoit and Pajeot. William Salchow was the first American to study bow making in France. With the recommendation of Simone Sacconi, he was awarded a Fulbright grant and spent a year in Mirecourt, France with Georges Barjonnet, one of Emile Francois Ouchard's great protégés, in 1960. He was joined by his grandson Isaac in 1992, and his son Stephen in 1995.
Wehling, Matthew (Matthew Wehling Homepage) Contemporary American Bow Maker. Studied on Summer courses with Bill Salchow. Subsequently spent 8 months in Benoit Rolland's workshop, studying French Bow making history, methods and technique. Joined the workshop of Tepho, Brittany France. In 2001 Wehling settled in Northfield, Minnesota, USA, a small college town 45 minutes south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area.
Alfred, John, Buffalo, NY - Bender, EW, Newman, IL - Copland, JN Chicago, IL - Guetter, Julius, Philadelphia, Pa - Karr, Albert, H, Kansas City, Mo - Knopf, Henry R, New York City - Kovanda, Frank - Lyeki, Louis, St. Louis, Mo - Many, John A, Washington DC - Mathewson, CH, Providence, RI - Passa, Frank - Reindahl, Knute, Madison, Wisc - Robinson, Robert, Portland, Ore - Roy, Ben J, Seattle, Wash - Wrona, Anthony - Tubbs, Edward, New York City - Valiance, Fred G, Detroit, Mich - Wrona, Anthony - Zimmerman, James S, Asheville, NC
Ellis, Jeffrey A Homepage. Sydney's Jeffrey Ellis, is one of Australia's most notable bow makers. He was a Churchill Fellow and studied with William Salchow in New York in 1989. Since l988 Jeffrey Ellis has been awarded 5 certificates of merit from the Violin Society of America and in 1993 he was awarded a silver medal at the Mittenwald Violin and Bow making Competition
Childs, Paul a New York bow collector and connoisseur, believes we are living in the time of the best bow making in history. Dealer from 1974.