François Nicolas Voirin cello bow, Paris circa 1880
Regarded as one of the most important bow makers in the history of bow making, François Nicolas Voirin (1833–1885) began an apprenticeship at the age of twelve with Jean Simon in Mirecourt before moving to Paris in 1855 to join the famous workshop of his cousin, Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. Voirin worked alongside Pierre Simon (1808–1881), another gifted bow maker from Mirecourt who had studied with Dominique Peccatte, copying Simon’s head styles and Vuillaume’s frog designs, including the experimental “Alard” style frog and “picture” bows.
In 1870, Voirin established his own workshop in Paris where he continued to develop his personal bow models. Though he was known as “the modern Tourte” during his lifetime, Voirin’s bows differed significantly from those of François Tourte, departing from “hatchet head” designs of Tourte, Peccatte, and Simon, experimenting instead with lighter models. Voirin’s bows were built with narrower heads, cambers oriented nearer to the tip, slimmer sticks, and they were highly admired for their elegance and agile playability. His style was highly influential with his students, including Charles Peccatte, Joseph Alfred Lamy (Lamy père), Louis and Claude Thomassin, and Charles Nicolas Bazin II. Voirin’s brother, Joseph Voirin (1837–1895), was also a respected bow maker who joined his business in 1875.
François Nicolas Voirin’s bows are highly regarded and sought after by top string players and collectors.
Sold with a certificate of authenticity from Paul Childs.