François Xavier Tourte (1747-1835) established the model for the modern bow and raised bow making to a new technical and artistic level which has never been surpassed.
Younger son of the bow maker Nicolas Pierre Tourte, François Tourte was first trained as a clockmaker. Around 1770 he started to make bows with his elder brother Léonard Tourte. During his early career he mainly made Cramer bows and baroque bows. He experimented with various designs and materials, which resulted in the standardization of length, weight and models of modern bows, and thereby revolutionized the history of French bow making. Around 1800, the François Tourte’s bow took on its definitive form and measurement, setting up the model for the modern bow that has been emulated ever since.
The gold and tortoiseshell-mounted bow of François Tourte is indeed very rarely seen in either museum or private collections. The Yu Art Foundation owns such a one and it is recorded in a significant publication of bow masterpieces. Tourte’s bows are exquisite and command the highest prices for their extraordinary craftsmanship, elegance and appreciation by players. All of his work is highly sought after in the musical world by the greatest professional performers and all knowledgeable collectors.