Born in Mirecourt in 1837, Jean-Joseph Martin began his apprenticeship early to provide financial support to his family after his father's premature death. At 21, he moved to Paris to work for Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, lacking even the funds to travel there by coach. He walked the 230 miles over 10 days. An eager and competent ...Read More craftsman, his Vuillaume-model bows of this period quickly became among the best ever produced for the firm.
In 1863 Martin returned to Mirecourt to start his own workshop, with an abundance of skill and meager financial means. The shop was especially active after 1870, when Martin began to hire assistants and sold bows to the Mennesson and Thibouville-Lamy firms through a cooperative he established in 1875. Many of the Mennesson bows are on a Vuillaume model, with rounded heads, and are branded, "J. Guarini." Joseph Arthur Vigneron was among the more celebrated makers who assisted him. Unfortunately the business foundered in 1880, and Martin lost both his shop and his home. His perseverance willed him to continue making bows of unstintingly high quality with his habitual brand, "J. Martin," until his death in 1910.
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