Violin Bow by W. E. Hill and Sons, London, circa 1920

Violin 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 almost unchallenged as the world´s premier violin and bow dealership for almost a century, having been set up by William Ebsworth Hill in 1880. The family´s roots in the trade went back even further: William Ebsworth was the fourth generation of Hill violin makers. As accomplished in making as the Hills were, William Ebsworth was also a shrewd business man: in just seven years the 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. In order to identify the maker, Hill bows are stamped on the faceplate, under the hair, with a number or a mark. It is possible to find out the maker of each bow from this stamp. There are a few other clues to be found on the frogs and sticks: letters were used to match bows to frogs after cleaning and numbers were used to identify the year of manufacture.

About the bow

This bow was made by William Johnston sometime between 1904 and 1925. We know this because Johnston changed his maker´s mark in 1904 and Hills started stamping their sticks with a number for the year in 1925. This bow is one of two we have in stock by this Hill maker: see here for the other.

The bow weighs 58 grams and the mounts are of silver and ebony.

How does it play?

This particular Hill makes a solid, full sound and is especially crisp and accurate in its spiccato.


The bow is in excellent condition. It bears the stamp W.E.H. & S above the frog on the audience side.

Further information

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

More information

For more options, please view other violin bows in this price range or view other violin bows by this maker.