Ref :   0645

A superb violin bow by
H. R. Pfretzschner
(1857 - 1921)
Circa 1890

It can be said rightfully of Hermann Richard Pfretzschner (1857 - 1921) that he was the cornerstone on which much of the German fine bowmaking tradition was built. Yet, he learnt his craft less in Germany, than in France. He went to Paris to study with J. B. Vuillaume. As it turned out he was Vuillaume's last pupil. (The saying goes that if you want a good French bow, buy an H. R. Pfretzschner!) He afterwards established himself in Markneukirchen, in 1880. In 1901 he was appointed by the King of Saxony as bowmaker to the Royal Court of Dresden.

The French authority René Vannes singles out H. R. Pfretzschner as follows: 'Pfretzschner is considered as one of the foremost German bowmakers whose work has universal reknown.' 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.'

This bow proves the point the a good H. R. Pfretzschner is a French bow, and not a German bow. This may be a strange thought to many musicians (considering the Germanic quality of the name) until they try one. You would believe you're playing with a good Voirin or Lamy, or with a Tubbs - a peculiar amalgam of lightness, strength and elasticity combining into a bow with superb balance, articulation and steadiness.

This bow, of beautiful golden pernambuco cut into an octagonal stick, shows all the characteristics of about 100 years of use - wear at the grip - a sign of preference and appreciation by generations of violinists. This is an exceptionally attractive stick - with flames and depth.

The bow has some of the finest playing properties a good and demanding violinist could wish for.

Weight :
  58.5 g

The Stick :
  Octagonal, exceptionally fine light brown flamed pernambuco.

The Nut :
  Ebony, simple eye. The right mother-of-pearl eye was missing and was replaced recently. Remarkably the frog appears to be the original. The adjuster button may be later, but this is not certain.

Mountings :

Wrapping :
  Silver wrapping very old but very good. New light brown thumbpad.

Tip Slide :
  Mammoth ivory - recent

Condition :
  This bow is in extremely good condition, considering its age of around 120 years. The stick is worn at the grip, but the rest of it is in excellent condition, The frog is totally free from cracks.

Provenance :
  This was the principal bow of an important South African professional violinist and soloist, Clementine de Boeck. At her death in 1989 she left her collection of instruments to her son, Robert van Schalkwyk, who kept it in the family until the entire collection was bought by Johan Grobbelaar in 2009.

Price : Withheld
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