- Laurence Libin
Family of Czech violin makers. František Špidlen (b Sklenarice, Czech Republic, 1867; d Prague, Czech Republic, 16 Feb 1916), a farmer’s son, learned violin making from his brother-in-law František Vitaček and later from Josef Cermak in Český Šumburk. In 1886 he went to Kiev to manage musical instruments in a department store. After military service in Bohemia he returned to Kiev in 1892, married, and was working independently by 1895. Having won the post of violin maker to the Imperial Academy, he moved with his family to Moscow, but after a highly productive period there, for reasons of health he left his workshop to Jindřich Vitaček, son of František, in 1907 and moved back to Bohemia. In 1910 he opened a shop in Prague, where his instruments gained a fine reputation among professional players.
He was succeeded in 1916 by his son and apprentice Otakar František Špidlen (...