Cello Bow by Jean-Joseph Martin, Mirecourt, circa 1890

Cello Bow by Jean-Joseph Martin, Mirecourt, circa 1890

About Jean-Joseph Martin

Jean-Joseph Martin was born in Mirecourt in 1837. His father died when he was still very young and he began his apprenticeship early in order to support his family. Sadly, poverty was to continue to play a large part throughout his life. At 21 Martin moved to Paris to work for the great J.B. Vuillaume: he walked the 230 miles as he was unable to afford a coach.

The time spent in Paris was successful: Martin´s great skill and commitment made him a star in the busy workshop. He returned to Mirecourt to open his own workshop in 1863. The workshop grew well, taking on assistants including Joseph Arthur Vigneron and producing bows for the Mennesson and Thibouville-Lamy companies.

Despite his great skill as a maker, Martin´s precarious financial situation and competition from the larger Mirecourt workshops led to the business collapsing in 1880. Martin lost both his shop and his home but continued to make extremely high-quality bows until his death in 1910.

About the bow

The bow was made in Mirecourt around 1890. It weighs 76 grams and the mounts are of silver and ebony. The round stick measures 688 mm in length.

The bow is unstamped, indicating that it was made to be sold in the shop of a dealer, most likely in Paris. This was very common practice at the time.

How does it play?

This bow is quick, responsive and nuanced. It´s on the lighter side of things, meaning that the bow would pair very well with a bright cello which needs a little refinement to the sound. It works well off the string and feels easily controllable.


The bow is in very good condition. The button on this bow is unoriginal but made for the stick: this is reflected in the asking price.


The bow comes with the certificate of Pierre Guillaume.

Further information

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