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Ten out of ten

The great 19th-century French bow makers had to produce a large amount of stock to make a living. Christophe Landon explores how their working methods differed from ours, as he makes ten simultaneous copies of one Peccatte bow

Points of interest to violin and bow makers

The original Dominique Peccatte bow (top) with ten roughed-out sticks

LIKE A TIME MACHINE, THIS METHOD TRANSPORTED ME INTO THE 19TH CENTURY

When I was an apprentice violin maker in Mirecourt, I often went fly fishing in the River Madon. The bow maker Roger François Lotte had his house and workshop next to the river, and would come out in his typical Mirecourt blue apron, fists on his hips, and call out, ‘Alors ça mord?’ (‘So, are they biting?’) When I visited his workshop I would always see him working on a dozen sticks at a time.

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About The Strad

We mark 100 years of Elgar’s Cello Concerto and examine Sgarabotto’s violins. Plus interviews Boris Kuschnir, Daniel Müller-Schott and Richard Tognetti, and our annual Cremona supplement.