Hamma’s collection of decorated bows

A selection of fine bows mounted in ivory and tortoiseshell from the collection of German connoisseur Walter Hamma

One of Germany’s great 20th-century violin experts, Walter Hamma also collected bows of the highest standard by contemporary makers. His collection included an exceptional assortment of decorated examples mounted in tortoiseshell or ivory, 13 of which are presented here.

Bow makers have traditionally reserved tortoiseshell and ivory mounts for bows of the very highest calibre made for their most prestigious clients. Many have found their way into collections and have been kept under optimal conditions, often providing definitive, unworn examples by which other bows from the same maker can be judged.

With the exception of an ivory-mounted cello bow, a superb exhibition piece by Émile August Ouchard for the 1937 Exposition Internationale in Paris, the rest of these bows are mounted in tortoiseshell. A late-19th-century French violin bow made for Chanot & Chardon is the earliest example, but the remainder were made in Hamma’s lifetime, and were probably bought by him or his father as new.

l62714frog Ouchard p et f

Cello bow by Emile Ouchard père et fils, c. 1930–35

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l62713frog Ouchard ivory

Cello bow by Emile-Auguste Ouchard fils, c. 1937

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l62715frog Clutterbuck

Viola bow by John Clutterbuck for W.E. Hill & Sons, c. 1968

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l62716frog E. Ouchard

Violin bow by Emile-Auguste Ouchard fils, c. 1960

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l62717frog Gillet

Violin bow by Louis Gillet, c. 1955–60

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l62718frog Millant

Violin bow by Jean Jacques Millant, c. 1965

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l62719frog Millant

Violin bow by Bernard Millant, c. 1963

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l62720frog Chanot Chardon

Violin bow made for Chanot & Chardon, late 19th century

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l62722frog Fetique

Violin bow by Victor François Fetique, c. 1925

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l62721frog Fetique

Violin bow by Victor François Fetique, c. 1925–28

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l62724frog Ouchard

Violin bow by Bernard Ouchard, c. 1960

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l62725frog Finckel

Violin bow by Johannes Siegfried Finkel, c. 1980

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l62723frog Watson

Violin bow by William D. Watson, c. 1968

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