William Retford was largely responsible for the fine bows produced by W.E.Hill & sons. He was born in New Milton, Hampshire, in 1875, and trained by Sydney Yeoman and Alfred Hill. He was appointed head of the company’s bowmaking department in 1907, which he directed until his retirement in 1956. Virtually all of the best bowmakers in England worked with him at Hills, and the distinctive Hill ‘Fleur-de-lys’ inlaid gold and tortoishell frogs were designed by him. He remained active until 1968, branding his last bows William C. Retford, and died in 1970. The innovative approach of the Hill bow department combined the best aspects of English traditions and the experience and expertise of Alfred, who trained in Mirecourt and introduced the Voirin style to the workshop. Hill bows became the definitive exposition of English bowmaking in the tradition of Tubbs and Dodd and most English bowmakers working in the present day are the direct or indirect inheritors of Retford’s work.
Tim Ingles and Paul Hayday will offer an initial evaluation of the authenticity and value of your instrument or bow. At this stage, the assessment is free and without obligation. In the first instance, we suggest submitting good-quality images to us, preferably by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by completing the valuation form.Read more