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Jean-Joseph (JJ) Martin Violin Bow, France, c. 1870

A fantastic silver mounted violin bow by Jean-Joseph Martin, Mirecourt, France, circa 1870. The bow was made for Joseph Hel and his shop in Lille, stamped J. HEL, with a Vuillaume style frog and button. The bow weighs 58.5 grams, and is a nimble stick with a warm and energetic sound with plenty of strength. The bow is certified by Cabinet JF Raffin experts in Paris. This bow has a perfect blend of 19th century handling and beauty of tone, price point, and well regarded provenance in the reputation of the maker as an investment and playing tool.

About JJ Martin:

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 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.

Jean-Joseph (JJ) Martin Violin Bow, France, c. 1870

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