Without question one of the most important figures in the history of German bow making, Hermann Richard Pfretzschner initially studied with his father Carl Richard before working for one year in the shop of J.B. Vuillaume in Paris, in 1874. Though his time with Vuillaume was brief, the French influence proved to be a formative one in Pfretzschner's style and workmanship. The stature of Voirin in the field of French bow making is evident in Pfretzschner's early period, which dates from the establishment of his shop in Markneukirchen in 1880 till about 1900. In fact, his bows from this period are almost exact imitations of the Voirin model, down to the Parisian eye, a novel development in Germany. Later in his career Pfretzschner relied on various French and English models, all the while adhering to certain tenets of his own style, including expert planing of the stick, and a widely-chamfered graceful head. Throughout his career the Pfretzschner workshop supplied unstamped bows to various firms in Germany and elsewhere, but bows made for the firm are almost uniformly stamped, "H.R. Pfretzschner." After being granted a noble title in 1901, he began to stamp a coat of arms on the frogs, and from 1910 to 1914 the shop maintained a branch in Dresden, branding its bows accordingly. Pfretzschner's sons Hermann and Berthold assisted him in the shop, which he passed on to them in 1914.
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