Violin bow by Jean-Joseph Martin, Mirecourt, circa 1870

Violin bow by Jean-Joseph Martin, Mirecourt, circa 1870

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 this violin bow

This bow was made in Mirecourt circa 1870 and is very characteristic of Martin's work. The frog and button are French of the period but not original to the stick.

The round stick is of excellent quality permabuco and measures 730 mm in length. The mounts are silver and ebony.

The bow weighs 63.5 grams.

How does it sound?

This is a superb playing bow! It has that golden combination of sitting really beautifully in the string but also handling exceptionally well when working off it. The bow pulls out a very full, broad sound and adds a great deal of quality, particularly on a brighter violin.


The bow is in very good condition with unoriginal mounts.


The bow comes with the certificate of Pierre Guillaume.

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