The bow was due to be sold at Tarisio's London Auction later this month


An English cello bow by James Tubbs, ‘presumed to have been in the possession of Jacqueline du Pré’, has been withdrawn from auction due to a lack of ‘confidence’ in its provenance. The bow was to be sold by by Tarisio in London this October with a sale price estimate of £20,000-£30,000. Accompanied by its original wooden box apparently ‘bearing an inscription from du Pré’, the bow had attracted a good deal of interest from potential buyers.

A statement on the Tarisio website now reads:

‘Lot 32 from our October auction, the James Tubbs cello bow presumed to have been in the possession of Jacqueline du Pré, has been withdrawn. The bow came to us from a reliable source, however new information has since been brought to our attention which caused us to investigate further.

‘With the help of Jacqueline’s siblings, Hilary and Piers, we confirmed some elements of the bow’s history but others remained in doubt. We then called David and Andrew Hill and Charles Beare who were the dealers who looked after Jacqueline’s instruments and bows at different parts of her career. Neither David nor Andrew could specifically recall the bow or was able to confirm that the bow had been sold through Hills as had been reported to us by our consignor.

‘Our responsibility is to present things accurately and correctly and to look out for the interests of our clients. There is no doubt this bow is a fine example of a James Tubbs in virtually untouched state, but unfortunately we no longer have the confidence to stand behind the provenance and have chosen to withdraw the bow.’

Read: Remembering cellist Jacqueline du Pré

Watch: Jacqueline du Pré on learning to live without the cello