Cello bow by W.E. Hill and Sons, London, circa 1920

Cello bow by W.E. Hill and Sons, London, circa 1920

About W.E. Hill and Sons

The English firm W.E. Hill and Sons was set up by William Ebsworth Hill in 1880 and remained almost unchallenged as the world´s premier violin and bow dealership for almost a century. The Hill name was associated with fine instruments long before this: William Ebsworth was a fourth generation violin maker. In addition to his skill as a maker, W.E. Hill was also an excellent business man: in just seven years his Hanwell workshop grew into a major concern, employing a number of talented makers of instruments, bows and cases. Hill´s four sons were among their number.

Over the course of the next 100 years or so, the Hill name continued to grow in importance thanks to the publication of a number of seminal texts on the great makers and the fact that most of the world´s best instruments were being sold through the firm. The Second World War saw a number of Hill instruments being donated to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. This collection included Stradivari´s `Le Messie´, arguably the world´s most famous violin.

Hill bows are known for their consistently high quality. There was a strict hierarchy within the workshop, with new recruits beginning by making chin rests and working their way up. The standards in the workshop were very high: I´ve never played a Hill with an overly weak stick, a testament to the rigorous quality control which took place. Hill bows are increasingly sought-after by professional players due to their excellent quality and reliability.

About the cello bow

This bow was made by William R. Retford for W. E. Hill and Sons. Retford was one of the new intake of bowmakers who joined Hills after World War One and was trained by his father, William Charles Retford.

This is a light cello bow which weighs 74.5 grams. The round stick is made of high quality pernambuco and the mounts are of silver and ebony. The bow measures 691 mm in length.

How does it play?

To play, this bow is deft and nimble. The great quality of the pernambuco means that despite its lightweight and slim stick, the sound is full and ringing. A great choice for someone who already has plenty of heft to their bowing technique.


The bow is in excellent condition and is original in all its parts.

Further information

Please get in touch for more details about this good English cello bow by W.E. Hill and Sons for sale and a member of our team will get back to you.

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