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Bow by Johann Wilhelm Knopf?


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27 minutes ago, martin swan said:

Not the best angles to judge ...

the fittings certainly look good for Knopf family, but the throat of the frog and the thumb projection look somewhat abused.

I see if I can post a couple more photos. I also thought that about the angle of the throat  of the frog. But I have seen other " Knopf" bows with this kind of worked angle...wondering if it was done purposely. Does the fact that it is not stamped detract from anything? I am still going J W KNOPF....but I am not an expert.

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You can't get a definite confirmation here if the bow is a JW Knopf or isn't. It looks like a very nice bow from this school, though personally I think that the head is a bit too squarish, especially the front, and the adjuster collar looks also a bit different from what I'm used to see from this maker (the frog projection is most probably altered), but this could be also within a range of variations. There were other members of the Knopf family or coworkers, makers trained in the shop etc. producing similar models, so that this is very difficult to judge by photos. The best you can do is to ask an respected expert in regards of this bows, maybe Klaus Grünke or Isaac Salchow about it.

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Your bow is without doubt a (very nice) unstamped Markneukirchen bow from the late 19th C.

 

There is an irritating tendency to attribute all such bows to one “Knopf” or another. However one should bear in mind that bows of this sort, almost never have a signature (stamp), particularly before the foundation of the bow makers Innung (guild) in 1888, and that a reliable official statistic pertaining to there manufacture is available.

 

The statistic I speak of is the survey of the “Handels & Gewerbekammer Plauen” from 1872. This official survey and its significance, is dealt with in detail in volume I of the Grünke German Bow Makers book, on page 22.

 

We learn from this statistic, that the annual bow production in the Markneukirchen area in this late part of the 19th C was 36,000 dozen, i.e. 432,000 bows. Many of these were of course of the cheap & nasty variety, and have long since landed in the worlds dustbins. There were however 1,500 dozen (18,000) nice, many very nice, (i.e. pernambuco) bows with Gold, silver or Neusilber (nickel) mounts, which would have been wholesaled, unstamped, worldwide to the trade.

 

Grünke, and his co-authors reckon that about 10 to 15 bow makers and at least as many assistants (as well as parts suppliers) would have worked full time to produce these bows. Since we don’t even know many of these masters by name, and very few are signed, it strikes me as intellectually reckless to imagine that one may ascribe each of these 18,000 bows to a particular person.

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1 hour ago, jacobsaunders said:

it strikes me as intellectually reckless to imagine that one may ascribe each of these 18,000 bows to a particular person.

I heard about a new running gag to call them all just August Moritz. But maybe that's kind of respectless joke only.B)

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Funny, I don't think there's that much of an issue with Knopf family bows. Many good people are working hard at trying to sort out these makers and to find ways to identify their unstamped work - Klaus Gruenke, Isaac Salchow, Gennady Filiminov and Mathias Wohlleber amongst others.

There are some particular traits that are only associated with Knopf family and with the Bausch stamped bows made for them by the Knopf family, and this bow has a few of them.

I wouldn't want to pass comment on the head since we don't have a good photo, but the slightly angular forehead is definitely found on JW Knopf, and the curve at the back of the head looks good too. For me all I would say is that the quality and shape of the head wouldn't exclude Knopf family.

The collar of the adjuster, the screw of the adjuster, the size and placing of the pearl eye and the shape and angles of the ferrule all compare favourably with two JW Knopf bows I have, so I don't think the OP is making a bad call. However the apparent flare to the pearl slide is inconsistent, and it's definitely a bit casual not to centre the pin in the bottom plate! For these reasons I would rule out JW Knopf.

The thumb projection has been altered, which is a great pity as this is one of the features that would allow a closer determination.

I think it's unlikely that anyone would certify this bow as being by a particular member of the family, but it's not a run of the mill late 19thC MK silver-mounted bow. I would be tempted to send (better) photos to Wohlleber in Berlin

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I don't think that it was said it's not possible to identify Knopf family bows and to seperate them from other good Mnk bows. It's just the matter whom and where to ask, and you gave good advice whom to ask.

I just looked up the (only one) bow by JW Knopf in your shop, but I found that exactly the differences I described are well visible comparing it with the OP. Mind especially that the adjuster collar is much wider here, even compared with others having a "French style" double ring, or that the rear of the head is here very straight, while your's has a slight and gentle curve. But I agree completely that the angles of the photos aren't well chosen to make a good comparison.

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9 hours ago, martin swan said:

Funny, I don't think there's that much of an issue with Knopf family bows. Many good people are working hard at trying to sort out these makers and to find ways to identify their unstamped work - Klaus Gruenke, Isaac Salchow, Gennady Filiminov and Mathias Wohlleber amongst others.

There are some particular traits that are only associated with Knopf family and with the Bausch stamped bows made for them by the Knopf family, and this bow has a few of them.

I wouldn't want to pass comment on the head since we don't have a good photo, but the slightly angular forehead is definitely found on JW Knopf, and the curve at the back of the head looks good too. For me all I would say is that the quality and shape of the head wouldn't exclude Knopf family.

The collar of the adjuster, the screw of the adjuster, the size and placing of the pearl eye and the shape and angles of the ferrule all compare favourably with two JW Knopf bows I have, so I don't think the OP is making a bad call. However the apparent flare to the pearl slide is inconsistent, and it's definitely a bit casual not to centre the pin in the bottom plate! For these reasons I would rule out JW Knopf.

The thumb projection has been altered, which is a great pity as this is one of the features that would allow a closer determination.

I think it's unlikely that anyone would certify this bow as being by a particular member of the family, but it's not a run of the mill late 19thC MK silver-mounted bow. I would be tempted to send (better) photos to Wohlleber in Berlin

Dear Martin,

Many thanks for your remarks and input. I do not have the necessary expertise but I tend to go on my gut reaction.I have seen and played on a few J W KNOPFS..great playing bows.... Primarily I am a player. Associate leader of the Portuguese Symphony Orchestra based in the National São Carlos Theatre in Lisbon. But as a young boy I grew up travelling with my father to Germany. He would take off in car and was on 1st name terms with so many of the German bow makers. Penzel, Nürnberger, Seifert, Pfretzschner,Paulus,Schmidt....just to name a few. I was fascinated.... Also just to be in their workshops..

Of course we all know the weight  the great french archetiers carry, but there is a great tradition of fine german bow-makers which I personally love

 

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