Refugees' bows hit the right notes

By Marcus Dysch, May 19, 2011
Otto and Trude Huttenbach

Otto and Trude Huttenbach

A unique collection of more than 30 English Baroque instrument bows acquired by a German Jewish refugee couple is to be auctioned next month.

Otto and Trude Huttenbach, who fled to London in the late 1930s, collected bows made in the 18th century by some of the world's great violin-makers.

The collection is estimated to be worth around £30,000, but interest in the pieces could push the total far higher, auctioneers predict.

The Huttenbachs became active figures in the collection of early musical instruments alongside the well-known Dolmetsch family of instrument makers and musicians.

Mr Huttenbach was an amateur cellist, and his wife was a professional musician.

One of the beautiful filigree bows

One of the beautiful filigree bows

They bought instruments and bows from regional auction houses and individuals as they toured the country performing concerts.

The collection dates back to the period of 1730 to 1890 and includes violin, viola, cello and double bass bows. Many are ivory-mounted and the two finest pieces are gold-chased violin bows made by James Tubbs, one of the most significant names in early bow-making.

The pair are expected to sell for around £7,000 collectively.

The Huttenbachs gave many pieces from their large collection to musicians before their deaths. Their son has now decided to sell the remaining pieces.

The bows will be auctioned by Brompton's Auctioneers at the Royal Institution, in London, on June 21.

Last updated: 1:48pm, May 19 2011