Pierre Simon

Pierre Simon (1 December 1808 – 12 December 1881), later known as Paul Simon, was a French archetier/bowmaker.

Became one of the most important makers of his time. He worked in Paris for Peccatte, Vuillaume and Gand Frères. In 1847 he purchased Dominique Peccatte's business. His bows have 2 distinct head models, one his own and the other based on a Peccatte model. Not much is known about his early work. He probably apprenticed from the age of 12 in Mirecourt, working for someone like Pajeot (speculation based on the elegance of his work by P. Child).

Arrived in Paris in 1838. According to experts, started making bows at least as early as 1827. However, the earliest bow attributed to Pierre, according to Raffin & Millant, was made for Jean Baptiste Vuillaume and dates back to 1845 when Pierre was 37 years old. Simon entered partnership with Joseph Henry from 1848-1851. Simon was one of the most skilled makers ever. He made bows on several patterns and of varying weights. Sometimes he used a model similar to the Peccatte interpretation of François Tourte, and these heavier Simon bows play similarly to Peccatte bows. But the classic, bell-shaped Simon head is derived from an earlier Tourte model. These tend to be lighter and more flexible than the classic Peccatte model. The finest Simon bows can have a highly attractive, lithe flexibility and a genuine beauty of tone.

Some bows of his output, bear the stamp: "Simon a Paris." His best bows are strong, finely balanced sticks which produce a smooth and velvety tone.

Simon is one of the few makers from 1850–1875 to have made octagonal bows either for himself or for Vuillaume. Pierre made few or no viola bows. The chamfer of a Simon bow follows a large, generous curve which can be seen from the profile. Also, the chamfers are quite symmetrical in a Simon bow. Pierre made bows for Vuillaume, Gand Frères, Gand & Bernardel Frères, George Chanot and Bernardel et Fils. Pierre's brother, Barthélémy, younger by two years, was also a bow maker.

"Peccatte’s two most well known pupils were Joseph Henry and Pierre Simon. Henry produced a bow similar to a Peccatte but of a somewhat lower general quality. Henry bows sometimes play very well but with the occasional exception seem coarse and clunky by comparison with a fine Peccatte. Simon, on the other hand, was one of the most skilled makers ever. He made bows on several patterns and of varying weights. Sometimes he used a model similar to the Peccatte interpretation of Tourte, and these heavier Simon bows play similarly to Peccatte bows. But the classic, bell-shaped Simon head is derived from an earlier Tourte model. These tend to be lighter and more flexible than the classic Peccatte model. The finest Simon bows can have a highly attractive, lithe flexibility and a genuine beauty of tone."

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