A fine violin bow by Sidney Yeoman for W.E. Hill & Sons, London circa 1900

Before 1918 W.E.Hill & Sons made fewer bows, concentrating on production for sale from the Bond Street shop rather than wholesaling through the network of dealers that they nurtured in Britain and abroad. Things would change when William Retford arrived and reorganised the workshop. Bows of this early period are uniformly some of the best that the Hills ever produced, and grades of quality appear to have been an afterthought. ‘W.E.H&S’bows typically had plain frogs and single-strand black whalebone lapping providing a cosmetic impression of difference in quality, but the resulting bow is of extremely high quality. This example is made by Sidney Yeoman (marked with a single nick in the faceplate by the mortise) who began his life in the Hill workshop in 1885 along with the first cohort of craftsmen, and is typical of the early ‘W.E.H&S’standard. The strong dark round stick compares favourably with the better French bows of the period. The total weight, 59 grams.