Violin bow by W.E. Hill and Sons, 1933
About W.E. Hill and SonsThe 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´, arguable 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 bowThis violin bow was made in 1933 by William Johnston who was born in Galashiels, not too far from us in Edinburgh. Johnston initially trained as a cabinet maker, working as a case fitter for the piano firm Broadwood and Sons. The bow was made in 1933, during which time Johnston was the Hill workshop manager. We also have an earlier bow by Johnston for sale here.
The bow weighs 55 grams and the mounts are of silver and ebony. The stick is octagonal in cross section and measures 733 mm in length.
How does it play?This is a really good example of a classic Hill violin bow: it is well balanced, carefully made and plays exceedingly well both on and off the string.
ConditionThe bow is in very good condition. It bears the stamp W.E.H. & S. above the frog on the player side.
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.