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More detailed information about stringed instruments and the history of violin making.

corilon violins

François Nicolas Voirin and the new French violin bow

François Nicolas Voirin, the master of the light violin bow: notes on his life and work

François Nicolas Voirin (1833-1885) is considered the first great master of modern French bow making after François Xavier Tourte. As one of the most talented employees at Jean Baptiste Vuillaume's legendary workshop, his responsibility was to create particularly sophisticated models. And as an independent master, François Nicolas Voirin influenced the work of his many excellent students for years, long after his sudden death. F. N. Voirin came from Mirecourt, where he was born as the son of François Voirin (1810-1862), a wood turner and gardener, and Anne Clement (1801-1862), one of J. B. Vuillaume's cousins. At 12 he began his training in his hometown; in 1855 he went to Paris and started working for J.B. Vuillaume, where he stayed for 15 years. It is assumed that the majority of — and the best of — the Vuillaume bows from this period were created by FN Voirin. Furthermore, the Vuillaume name, so illustrious in bow-making circles, is thought to have profited greatly from François Nicolas Voirin's talent. And FN Voirin in turn could not have benefited from any experience more than he did from being at the Vuillaume workshop, the atelier where the riddle of François Xavier Tourte's bows was solved and where instruments were built to meet the highest standards. The fact that Vuillaume's workshop inspired many exceptional ideas can also be seen in the complicated curiosities he created, such as bows with Stanhope lenses. In our day, the majority of specialists have agreed that these inventions should be attributed to F N Voirin.

In 1870 François Nicolas Voirin founded his own workshop at Rue du Bouloi No. 3, where he worked as an independent master for 15 years. His bow models distinguished themselves from Tourte's great design by making the head more slender and elegant, shifting the arc of the stick closer to the head, and reducing the diameter at the frog. These extremely light, dynamic bows still delight ambitious musicians today who wish to pursue virtuostic style. Voirin's legacy was carried on by his students even after his sudden death in 1885; Louis Thomassin continued operating the atelier with Voirin's widow, while
Joseph Alfred Lamy père and Charles Nicolas Bazin went their own way along paths of nearly equal grandeur.

Related articles:

François Xavier Tourte, founding father of the classic violin bow

Eugène Sartory: the modern classic of bow making

The Ouchard dynasty of bow makers

Charles Nicolas Bazin: the great name of Mirecourt bow making

Louis Bazin, Bazin's grandchildren: bow making in turbulent times

Morizot, père et frères: the short history of a great family of bow makers

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Corilon violins • Lilienstrasse 2 • D-81669 München • Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89-444 19 619 • Fax: +49 (0)89-444 19 620

New arrivals in our catalogue
  • Excellent French violin, Collin-Mézin (fils), 1947, "Le Victorieux", No. 120
  • Magnificent French solist violin, François Caussin, Neufchateau approx. 1850 (certificate Hieronymus Köstler)
  • Old, handmade Mittenwald orchestral violin, 1960's
  • 19th century: Antique French Mirecourt violin, Pailliot, approx. 1820
  • 3/4 - Fine French 3/4 violin, approx. 1910
  • Silver mounted Cello bow, Swiss Finkel workshop
  • French Ary cello bow, Mirecourt approx. 1980
  • French cello bow, Ary France - superior quality
  • Fine and powerful French violin bow, Marie Louis Piernot, Paris (certificate J. F. Raffin)
  • Fine French violin bow by Charles Nicolas Bazin (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Historically interesting French violin, by René Bazin, Lille 1936
  • Old French violin with a soloist tone, atelier Georges Coné, Lyon 1928
  • WORKED OVER AND OPTIMIZED: Contemporary Italian master violin, Virgilio Cremonini, 2012
  • Cremonese master violin, Piergiuseppe Esposti, 1998 (certificate Piergiuseppe Esposti)
  • 1/4 - Fine French 1/4 violin bow, Morizot Frères (certificate J.-F. Raffin)
  • 3/4 - French Mirecourt 3/4 violin bow
  • Excellent German master violin bow, sweet, fluid sound, 1920's
  • French violin bow, atelier Charles Louis Bazin (certificate J.F. Raffin)
  • Modern French soloist viola, Jacques Camurat, Paris 1963
  • Old Mittenwald violin, Josef Rieger, 1927
  • Fine English violin, late 18th century
  • Ernst Heinrich Roth, old Bubenreuth violin from 1955, certificate
  • Roger Lotte: French viola bow, Mirecourt
  • 3/4 - old German 3/4 violin after Stradivarius, dark tone