Classical Violin Bow by John Dodd, London c.1795
Biography of John Dodd – William Meredith Morris
He was born in Stirling, died in Richmond workhouse, and was buried at Kew. He is styled ” The English Tourte,” and much of his work justifies the title. Had he lived a more virtuous life, he probably would have turned out work of uniform excellence. Many of his bows were evidently made in haste, and sold for a few shillings, to meet the exigencies of an empty cupboard and a parching thirst. His intemperate habit was the cause of many troubles to himself, and to others who interested themselves on his behalf, and he came nigh the last stage of starvation many a time. Had it not been for the kindly offices of Dr. Selle and Mr. Richard Platt, of Richmond, he would have ended his days on the roadside ; as it was, he ended them in the workhouse. He was the pupil of his father, the Edward Dodd previously noticed, and he improved so much upon the work of his father, and upon everything else in the whole of the violin world (excepting the work of his greater contemporary, Francois Tourte), that his bows have maintained an undiminished celebrity down to our own days. His method of cutting his bows was primitive, and it has not been adopted by any great maker since his time. He cut the bow in the curved form out of the block, and dispensed with the ordinary plan of cutting it straight and bending by heat. I have seen a large number of Dodd bows, and I am convinced from a close examination of them that they have all been cut in this manner. One of the finest specimens which I have seen is now in the possession of the Rev. J. Rhys Jones, Priest-in-charge, Maesteg, Glamorganshire. It is a fine stick, with a graceful camhre and good balance. Its length is exactly 28 1/4in., and the length of the hair 25 1/8in. It is of medium weight, and very dark in colour. The face of the heel is decorated with mother-of-pearl, and the ferrules are of thick silver. Dodd’s name was stamped on all sorts of wretched nondescripts in the middle of last century, and his fame suffered considerably in consequence. But his work has suffered more than his fame, for there are hundreds of mongrel “Dodds”” about, some with genuine heels, others with genuine heads, and not a few patched up in divers manners. The owner of a genuine Dodd, of regulation length, or anything near it, and made in his best style, has a treasure that he can well be proud of.
The round stick of a red-brown colour, silver mounted ebony frog, inlaid with pearl eye. Three part silver adjuster inlaid with pearl eye.
Stamped ‘DODD’ on the shaft
- Weight 55 grams
Condition as new