Important bows set for Christie's classical instrument sale

An upcoming Christie's sale will offer collectors an opportunity to bid on a selection of fine and rare musical instruments.

The auction, which takes place in Paris on April 26, will feature stringed classical instruments alongside a world-class collection of bows made by two of history's finest craftsmen - Jean Baptiste Vuillaume and François Xavier Tourte.

Tourte revolutionised the production of bows in the early 19th century, using new techniques and designs which evolved with the new playing styles of the period. His bows allowed musicians to play in far larger venues, and widely increased the repertoire of tunes at their fingertips.

As such, his bows are regarded as highly important in the development of classical performance and remain highly sought after by collectors and music historians alike.


A gold and ivory-mounted Vuillaume violin bow
A gold and ivory-mounted Vuillaume violin bow, valued at $70,000 - $120,000

The centrepiece of the bow selection will be a gold and tortoiseshell-mounted violin bow produced by Tourte circa 1820 -1825, which is expected to bring $150,000 - $250,000.

Tourte's legacy was continued by Jean Baptiste Vuillaume, who copied his techniques and refined bows further using the most skilled craftsmen at his disposal.

His trademark designs featured depictions of celebrated musicians, and the forthcoming sale includes a gold and ivory- mounted violin bow, carved with an image of Niccolò Paganini.

Produced in Paris, circa 1849, the bow will be offered with a pre-sale estimate of $70,000 - $120,000.

The sale will also feature a number of fine violins to compliment the bows. Highlights will include a Mantuan violin by the Italian artisan and musician Pietro Giovanni Guarneri, valued at $250,000 - $350,000, and an 18th century Venetian violin by Domenico Montagnana valued at $200,000 - $300,000.

For collectors looking to pick up stringed instruments of a slightly more rock and roll nature, we're currently offering guitars signed by U2 and the Rolling Stones in our memorabilia section here.

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