A selection of bows by the German-born bow maker (1885-1931), whose work exhibits the influence of Claude Thomassin and other French artisans of the era 


In the April 2024 issue, Gennady Filimonov gives an account of the life and work of the German bow maker Richard Otto Gläsel. Born in 1885 in Markneukirchen, he perfected his craft in the workshop of the Parisian maker Claude Thomassin. Since bow makers of the calibre of Sartory, Charles Peccatte, André Vigneron, Louis Bazin and Alfred Lamy were working in the French capital at the time, it would have been a stimulating time for Gläsel to be working there. He returned to Germany on the eve of the First World War, and the experience of working in Paris apparently left him an avowed Francophile, as his bows frequently display the brand ‘O. GLÈSEL’ – the ‘Frenchified’ version of his name.

Gläsel’s work branded ‘O. GLÈSEL’ is splendid, especially the heads and the rest of the stick, which epitomise the ideal of the French working style. The frogs are more Germanic in style. One can find a considerable number of bows stamped ‘O. GLÈSEL A PARIS’. The bows from the early 1920s, branded ‘OTTO GLÈSEL’ (his other brand stamp) and those marked ‘TUBBS’ bear resemblance to Otto Hoyer’s work from the same period, especially at the frog. They have an elongated sloping thumb grip (perhaps an exaggerated Sartory influence), Parisian eyes and the French-style silver-capped buttons. Gläsel also incorporated a rounded-off ferrule (à la Thomassin) on his bows.

Gläsel also produced bows for his colleague Johann Karl Padewet (1887–1971) in Karlsruhe, Germany. These bows were made between 1922 and 1930 and stamped ‘J. PADEWET CARLSRUHE’ on the handle near the button, and ‘O. GLÉSEL A PARIS’ under the winding.

More Gläsel bows can be viewed in the April 2024 issue of The Strad,  which is also available to subscribers here.


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