Repaired – W E Hill & Sons Violin Bow, England circa 1920


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The London based firm W.E. Hill & Sons dominated the fine instrument and bow market in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. The Hill name became synonymous for high quality and expertise in the bow string instrument business. The firm was founded in 1880 by William Ebsworth Hill, who established its reputation for fine restoration work. He trained his four sons to continue the work following his death in 1895. The Hill workshop also employed many fine makers to make instruments and their cases, but their specialty was the bow. Alfred Hill initiated and established a style of the firm’s bows based on the Tourte violin bow and Voirin cello bow. His hybrid of ideas of what his bows for the firm should be brought together the finest British makers to create a unique and distinctively British bow. These makers were highly individualist and came from all backgrounds. It was Alfred Hill who insisted on his concepts and his conceptual idea of the bow and his insistence on excellence that made it all work.

Our bow was made by Hill bow maker Arthur J. Barnes (1888-1945). Arthur James Barnes was originally trained as a cabinet maker in England and joined the Hill bow workshop in 1919. He was known in the shop as Harry and in 1939 left Hill & Sons to volunteer and fight for his country. The bow is branded on the silver tip under the hair with the number 5 which was Arthur J’s number. The bow is also branded under the frog on the stick with the letter of his first name (A) and the # 44. The frog also contains the letter (A) branded into the silver cover plate. This bow has been repaired in the middle of the stick where it experienced a serious break. At one time a player sat on the bow and cracked the stick. I stand behind the restoration/repair 100% and have completely finished the restorations on the stick and frog area. The stick, frog, endscrew, silver tip, and the current silver winding are original. This bow is a part of history as well as a good playing violin bow at a very reasonable price.

Weight fully haired 60.8 grams.