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


l62713frog Ouchard ivory

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


l62715frog Clutterbuck

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


l62716frog E. Ouchard

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


l62717frog Gillet

Violin bow by Louis Gillet, c. 1955–60


l62718frog Millant

Violin bow by Jean Jacques Millant, c. 1965


l62719frog Millant

Violin bow by Bernard Millant, c. 1963


l62720frog Chanot Chardon

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


l62722frog Fetique

Violin bow by Victor François Fetique, c. 1925


l62721frog Fetique

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


l62724frog Ouchard

Violin bow by Bernard Ouchard, c. 1960


l62725frog Finckel

Violin bow by Johannes Siegfried Finkel, c. 1980


l62723frog Watson

Violin bow by William D. Watson, c. 1968


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