VUILLAUME a PARIS Mirecourt Violin Bow Early 20th Century – CURRENTLY OUT ON TRIAL –
Starting the summer of 2021, I started setting goals to get my collection of bows prioritized and begin restorations. This bow has been in my collection of sticks for over 40 years, but I never noticed the sterling silver eyes in the frog. This collection of sticks was just lying in boxed piles not neatly arranged, just bundled up. Over the past two years I have decided to go on the offensive with the collection and get them completed and into the showroom. If you’re looking for a bow with character and charm, you may have found it. The bow is early 20th century French and made in a Mirecourt workshop with the “Vuillaume a Paris” stamp. Mirecourt was the famous hub of violin making in the mountains of France starting as far back as the early 1700’s. If you desired to be a violin or bow maker, you would have traveled 180 miles southeast of Paris to this area hoping and praying to find a job as a beginner apprentice. If hired that apprentice would devote 3-7 years perfecting his craft. Many contracts for apprentices stated your work hours would be sunup to sundown (farmers hours). These were the same hours a farmer had – no difference. The very best apprentices working in Mirecourt, after much hard work, moved on and were able to apply their valuable skills in Paris, New York City, and London. Some simply chose to stay right where they were, starting their own shops. Because of the tremendous output of instruments being made (over 2000 luthiers between 1860 -1920) the need for bows was huge. Many shops began to specialize just in bows. This bow is a workshop bow from this famous period. The bow is branded with the Vuillaume name but made by an anonymous maker. The head and tip are original. I left the winding of the bow with the brown leather thumb grip as is. It is truly functional and working but I don’t believe original to the bow. The pernambuco stick is a beautiful medium brown color, while the fittings are in nickel. The frog has elegant, rounded edges, half lined, which gives the bow a different feel. It is typical French work, but above typical work is the sterling silver eyes fitted into the frog. Also check out the gram weight of the bow; different weight, and balance, for a bow during this period which was usually much lighter. The bow feels good in the hand, delicate, and worth looking at for the player wanting to round out your arsenal of sticks to help create different tonal colors in your violin playing. I like the bow, it has good bones, plays well, is in nice condition, has great age, and it’s French.
Weight fully haired 63.3 grams.