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An example from Voirin, showing off his many influences
On July 31, 2019
by Will Robertson
François-Nicolas Voirin
1833–1885 View this Item
Born 1833, Mirecourt, began an apprenticeship in his hometown aged 12. 10 years later, he travelled to Paris where he joined his cousin's workshop. This cousin was the little-known violin maker, Jean Baptiste Vuillaume. 😉
Often cited as the most important bow-maker of the second half of the 19th Century, he worked with Vuillaume for 15 years, their relationship tested by their creative personalities often clashing. In spite of their differences, Voirin adopted a lot of the design principles of the Vuillaume workshop and later became Vuillaume's Director of Bow Making. J.B.V. clearly respected Voirin's work as he would regularly show it off, going so far as to request that Voirin install a micro-photo of him between semi-transparent mother-of-pearl lenses in the frog.

Worked indefatigably until stricken down with apoplexy whilst taking a bow to a patron...- W. Henley

The photographed Silver and Ebony mounted 'cello bow shows off some fiery Pernambuco at the tip, and you can see the almost triangular form that Voirin favoured, with the chamfers at the back of the head coming way backwards towards the hair. Extremely elegant and poised, this is exceptionally typical of Voirin. This isn't the best example of this form, however- it's a lot more obvious on his violin bows.

The style of the frog is largely reminiscent of the Tourte school with it's perfectly rounded back joining beautifully to the mother of pearl on the bottom with a pinned silver backplate. The large button is also reminiscent of a Tourte - again paying homage to the old master.