John Dodd cello bow, London circa 1820. The silver and ebony frog and button later.
Known as the 'English Tourte' for his leading role in the development of the modern bow in Britain, John 'Kew' Dodd (1752 1839) was initially employed as a fine metalworker. Proximity to this trade afforded him the tools and expertise to develop the screw mechanisms being pioneered in Paris around the same time, and Dodd probably took up bow making in the 1770s80s. He is first listed in the trade directories in 1794, and the earliest example of his work bears the brand of Norris and Barnes. Details about his working life are limited, but he seems to have been active in the trade and in the communities of Lambeth, and later Kew, until the beginning of the 19th century. Dodd supplied some bows to the Betts, Forster and Banks workshops, which bear their brands, though his other bows are stamped 'Dodd'.
The evolution of Dodd's model is indicative of the great changes bow making underwent during the second half of the 18th century. His earlier work features the rounded heads, narrower ivory frogs and straighter sticks of classical bows. Over the course of his career Dodd helped to establish the definitive characteristics of the modern English bow, including the upward-tilting ivory face, large chamfers, 'top-hat' shaped mortise, and frog of ebony or tortoiseshell.
Sold with a certificate of authenticity from Paul Childs.