Joseph Alfred Lamy, Paris c. 1910-15, silver & ebony

A very fine violin bow from one of the most celebrated French makers of the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries.   This bow is part of a collection of fine bows and instruments belonging to a professional musician.  Please note the recollections of its current owner:

  “I remember vividly the first time I touched this bow. I was on my annual trip to purchase a new bow for my burgeoning collection. Standing in front of a large mahogany table with eight bows laid out in front of me, I began my “ritual” of hefting each one to feel it’s weight and balance. When I held the Lamy it didn’t feel light or heavy, in fact, the weight somehow did not even feel like a palpable issue at all. When I put it on the string it just “tracked” the string with only minimal participation of my hand and arm. It “rode” the point of contact with a smooth, natural flow and the sound came in the same way. It was as if the bow played me and I was just holding on and going for a nice ride.
     As I considered writing this  commentary the word “camber” kept coming to mind. The camber is the subtle bending of the stick, so that holding the bow in front of yourself, with the wood side up, pointing to the wall in front of you, it is slightly arched to the left. When the bow is in playing position on the string and the wood is tilted slightly forward, any weight and/or pressure brought to bear will have to engage with the camber, which provides resistance. This is the way tone can be developed and sculpted in performance. As I consulted my dictionary for some help with various shades of meaning of the word “flexible’, I found an entirely new word I had never heard before which describes the kind of flexibility this Lamy has. The word is “flexuous” and it means: “bending alternately from side to side.”  This bow and it’s perfect camber are flexuous. Touching the bow without an actual “grip” and relaxing the weight of the arm without tension or pressure, the bow glides and makes tone as if by itself. In this way an extraordinary bow can become a very good teacher.”
A further commentary on this bow for those who are viewing the photographs; the viewer may note the engraved initials “F.K” on the ferrule.  Though it is difficult to prove its provenance, it is possible that Fritz Kreisler may have owned this bow at some point in his long career.  He was known to own several fine bows over his life and he did have his initials engraved in a similar manner on many of his bows.  The Library of Congress owns several of his bows that he donated and one bow in their collection, a W.E. Hill & Sons bow has that engraving on the ferrule.  Perhaps it is coincidental, but the similarities are rather striking. (Bernard Millant photo certificate included)

Inventory #: C669S2