Ref :   0614

A good viola bow stamped
J J van de Geest & Son
Probably German, c. 1960

After completing his apprenticeship under Eugen Eberle in Rotterdam, the Dutch violinmaker, Jacobus Jan van de Geest (1899-1974), joined Hart & Son in London, in 1921 - then the most important violin firm in London. For 18 years he was that studio's master craftsman in charge of all work, until the company closed in 1938.

In 1939 he moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, and there he rapidly became a formidable force in the music life of that country, not only as a remarkable craftsman producing violins, violas and cellos, but also as a brilliant restorer and expert, and as an importer of many fine violins. He established a very successful business in Plein Street, Johannesburg from where he served almost all the important orchestras and musicians in the country.

Apart from his own personal output as violinmaker, J. J. van de Geest imported 'trade' instruments from mainly Germany, Holland and Japan. These were items aimed at the student and amateur market. They were not made by J. J. van de Geest, but were the output of large trade studios.

Apart from the violins, violas and cellos he imported in this way, he also imported large quantities of bows from studios in Germany. These bows were stamped J. J. van de Geest & Son. They were mostly of very good quality - silver mounted frogs and good quality octagonal pernambuco sticks, but were not his personal work.

To get clarity on this matter, I recently spoke to Dale Walton, who for many years was Van de Geest's apprentise, assistant and workshop manager. Dale is now elderly, but he confirmed to me that Van de Geest rarely made bows himself and that the overwhelming majority of the bows sold from his business were imported from Germany and then stamped by Van de Geest. His personal bows were simply stamped 'J. J. van de Geest' or 'Jacobus J. van de Geest' and omitted the '& Son' part.So, it can be said with confidence that a bow stamped J. J. van de Geest & Son is not his personal work.

The workmanship on the octagonal shaft of this bow is consistent with trade workmanship lacking the crispness of a fine hand. It nevertheless is a good bow with excellent properties.

An unusual and attractive feature of the this bow is that the slide and eyes in the frog are of silver, and not of mother-of-pearl, as is traditional. The adjuster is of plain silver, much in the Hill tradition.

Weight :
  67.6 g

The Stick :
  Octagonal pernambuco

The Nut :
  Ebony with plain silver eyes and silver slide.

Mountings :

Wrapping :
  Commercial grade wound-silver wrapping with black leather thumbpad.

Tip Facing :
  White bone

Condition :
  Excellent condition. A very small nick in right rear edge of frog does not threaten the structural integrity of the frog. This bow was recently rehaired with Siberian stallion hair..

Provenance :

Price : Withheld
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