Musical saw and bow. The saw has a painted wooden handle and metal serrated blade. The violoncello bow used for playing the saw is made from rosewood, ebony, horsehair and metal. It is comprised of an octagonal rosewood stick, ebony frog with mother of pearl eye in the centre with a metal and ebony hair tightener at the end of the stick. The bow hair is made from horsehair.

This particular saw is specially made for musical performance. It is longer than a carpentry saw to enable production of a larger range of notes. The handle of the saw is held against the player's leg and the end of the saw is held with one hand. Drawing a bow across the blade's straight edge produces the sound. Pitch can be varied by bending the angle of the blade and vibrato can be added by causing the saw to quiver. This saw was owned by the London-based Joan Stonehewer (1910-1969), a 'concert artiste' of the variety theatre tradition. Stonehewer played the saw and other novelty instruments. Her engagements included appearances at the Royal Variety Hall and the BBC.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk