Leopold Widhalm violin, Nurnberg 1775
Leopold Widhalm violin showing the collaboration with his son, Martin Leopold, and bearing a label dated Nurnberg, 1775
German violin maker Leopold Widhalm (1722-1776) was born in Horn, Austria, where he worked as a repairer of lutes, before learning to build his own instruments. He moved to Nürnberg (Nuremberg), Germany to study and work with Sebastian Schelle (1676-1744), whose daughter Barbara, he married. After Schelle's death, the couple took over the workshop, with Widhalm working prolifically to grow the business into the largest and most successful violin shop in Nürnberg, and becoming one of the most important German makers of the 18th century. Widhalm's instruments show the influence of Jakob Stainer, Giovanni Paolo Maggini, and other makers. His sons Martin Leopold Widhalm (1747-1806) and Gallus Ignatius Widhalm (1752-1822) also became violin makers, collaborating with their father on many instruments-the violin offered here is believed to be made by the senior Widhalm and Martin Leopold. Inheriting the shop after Barbara's death in 1781, the sons continued to label their instruments with Leopold's name, and the Widhalm dynasty continued with the son of Gallus Ignatius, Johann Martin Leopold Widhalm (b. 1799), well into the early 1800s.