‘Ex-Romberg’ Tourte cello bows

The two Tourte cello bows sold by Tarisio in October 2006 and February 2007 are an exceptionally fine pair. They were made by François Xavier Tourte in the early 19th century and were probably purchased directly from him by the German cellist and composer Bernhard Romberg. They then shared an extraordinary unbroken provenance, passing from Romberg to the Italian cellist Alfredo Piatti and then to Piatti’s pupil, Robert von Mendelssohn (cousin of the composer Felix Mendelssohn). In the 20th century they were owned by Edmund Kurtz, principal cellist of the Chicago Symphony. The bows both sold for world record prices – the first made $196,000, while the second just beat this, fetching £101,000 ($202,000)