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John Dodd cello bow, circa 1820

John Dodd cello bow, circa 1820
Catalog ID: A-CEB/4720

John Dodd (1752-1839) was the most important English bow maker of the 18th century, whose prolific output reflects the significant evolution of the violin bow over his long career. Eldest son of bow maker Edward Dodd (c.1705-c.1800) and brother to violin maker, dealer, and bow maker Thomas Dodd (1764-1834), John Dodd is commonly referred to as the "English Tourte" for his development of the modern violin bow in London at the same time that Fran├žois Xavier Tourte was producing similar models in Paris. Formerly a metalworker, John Dodd improved the bow screw mechanism and introduced the "top hat" mortise and use of tortoiseshell or ebony for frogs. Early in his career, John Dodd made bows for Norris and Barnes in London and later supplied bows to the violin shops of Benjamin Banks, John Betts, William Forster, and presumably to Thomas Dodd & Sons-his brother's highly successful London firm. His nephews, bow makers James Dodd Jr. (James Dodd II, 1792-1865) and Edward Dodd III (1797-1851) continued the Dodd family workshop, expanding the business through the mid-19th century to include keyboard instruments. Bows by John Dodd are highly sought after by professional players and collectors.

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