Established 1982 Tel: 020 7249 9398
Cello bow by William Charles Retford c.1920
Cello bow by William Charles Retford c.1920
Cello bow by William Charles Retford c.1920
Cello bow by William Charles Retford c.1920

Cello bow by William Charles Retford c.1920

£ 9,400.00

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Bow maker 1875 – 1970

Probably the greatest bow craftsman of his time, William Charles Retford was initially hired by the firm of W.E. Hill & Sons as an instrument repairer. He began making bows shortly thereafter and developed a lifelong reputation for exquisite and fastidious workmanship and an irascible personality. He and William Napier in particular clashed quite often, but Retford later created a new production model after WWI with Napier’s son Frank, whereby fittings were produced by specialized metalworkers.

Over the course of a 64-year career at the firm, almost 50 as head of the bow department, Retford worked with Alfred Hill to establish the definitive profile of the Hill bow, which involved the careful study of innumerable fine French bows that passed through the firm’s hands. The fleur-de-lys design that appears on frogs of the firm’s finest gold and tortoiseshell bows was one of Retford’s signature ideas. His bows for the firm are marked by a single dot beneath the mortise. Retford continued to make bows following his retirement in 1956, which bear the stamp, “William C. Retford.”

Additional information

Weight 0.28 kg
Dimensions 79 × 4.5 × 4.5 cm


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