Nicolas Pierre Tourte (b. c. 1700–d. 1764)

Nicolas Pierre Tourte was initially employed as a carpenter until about 1742. His workshop produced both instruments and bows, and he became an important innovator in bow making. Violin bows of the period had convex fluted sticks without the metal screws that were the innovations of the next several decades. Encouraged by players seeking greater sonic power and tonal range, Tourte later experimented with the concave sticks that came to define the outline of the modern bow by the end of the century. Read more on Cozio.

Nicolas Pierre Tourte c. 1740–50

This pike-head bow in amourette has all the typical characteristics of Nicolas Pierre Tourte’s work: the style of the fluting, which wraps elegantly around the sides of the head into the tip; the finely carved ‘V’ at the back of the head between the fluting; the sides of the frog which are left full and flat towards the heel and hollowed into the throat; and the sturdy and square tongue which in this example is missing the ligature ridge seen on his bows of the following pages. The turned button is also typical, with several raised collars and a small ball decoration at the end. This example was possibly originally intended as a viola bow, as it is the stylistic twin of another of his bows, but heavier and longer.

  • Nicolas Pierre Tourte c. 1740–50