Newsletter / December 2013

The Head

Dominique Peccatte (1810 – 1874):

An examination of a very rare silver and ebony mounted violin bow

Along with F. X. Tourte and J. P. M. Persoit, Dominique Peccatte is considered one of the greatest bowmakers of the 19th century. He learned the métier with J. P. M. Persoit in J. B. Vuillaume’s workshop. Despite the great influence of his masters, Peccatte early on developed his own powerful and confident style which he later became famous for.

This bow combines all the characteristics of a masterpiece by Dominique Peccatte.

The Head

The Chamfer (Player Side)
The chamfers of the beautifully designed head are boldly cut and taper off towards the headplate. The tool marks are typical of Peccatte’s work and are especially visible on the audience side of the head.
The Chamfer (Audience Side)

They are set at an angle of 35,5 degrees to the headplate, just like in many other examples by Peccatte listed in the TPA (Tool Pattern Analyses) database of the French Bow Research Institute. The cheeks of the head are flat; the ridge shows a turn to the left.
The Ridge

The Stick

Octagonal sticks like in this bow are fairly rare in Peccatte’s work. This detail, like his choice of dense wood – which enables him to create a very slim silhouette –, is an obvious homage to the “almighty” F. X. Tourte. As is typical for Peccatte’s bows, the stick was planed quickly and with great precision and drive, showing Peccatte’s exceptional mastery. The golden red Pernambuco is of a superior quality.

The Frog

The Frog
The frog is mounted with a silver liner and fixed with two screws at a position typical of Dominique’s works. The frog’s throat is cut quite evenly as compared to other examples by Peccatte. The ebony is of fine quality and matches various Peccatte bows registered in the FBRI database. Typically, the heel plate has two parts and is fixed with a single pin. The silver alloys of the frog and the button share the same composition and comply with alloys used in other Peccatte bows listed in the FBRI metal database.

The Liner

The Bottom of the Frog

The Frog (Angled View)


To sum up, we can say that this bow unites the finest characteristics of a Dominique Peccatte violin bow – powerful elegance, pure beauty, speed as well as flexibility and resistance in perfect symbiosis.


Stephan Jansen, London / Isaac Salchow, New York City

Scientific Investigations

Brigitte Brandmair, Munich


Rachel Drehmann, NYC / Brigitte Brandmair, Munich


Isaac Salchow, NYC / Stephan Jansen, London – All Rights Reserved.

Next issue

Eugène Nicolas Sartory (1871 – 1946): A Comparison of three cello bows from his first three Expo’s.

(Cello bow made for the Expo 1897 in Bruxelles)

Cello bow by E. Sartory Expo 1897