Networking with Other Networks: Women in the Arts in the Long 18th Century


Another invitation: I’m also part of the EAERN Network (Eighteenth-Century Arts Education Research Network), and EAERN members have just been notified of an event taking place in Sheffield. Perhaps it might interest a few members of the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall music research network, too?


Registration is now open for ‘Women and the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century’. EAERN members would be very welcome to join us at the University of Sheffield for this event on Friday 8th March. Further details available via the registration link below:…/…/english/women-and-the-arts


Networking with other Networks: Romantic National Song Network website


Simultaneously with instigating the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall research network, I’ve also been involved with another network based at the University of Glasgow – the Romantic National Song Network.  The website has literally just gone live, and I’m delighted to share the announcement, sent to me by Dr Brianna Robertson-Kirkland, Research Assistant to RNSN.  Do visit the website and take a look – you’ll find some fascinating stories!

Homepage of the Romantic National Song Network:

As Brianna says,

“I  am pleased to announce that our website is now live and we have some fantastic content available.  Can I draw your attention to Kirsteen’s blog post which tells the story so far:

Also – A wonderful blog by Isabel Corfe who was invited to attend the British Library meeting in June:

And the first of our song stories; True Courage by Charles Dibdin created by our very own Oskar Cox Jensen:

As we approach the concert which will be taking place at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on Monday 18th March at 6pm we will be releasing regular content, so please do share across your colleagues.

We also have a brand new Twitter page @UoG_RNSN so if you are a Twitter user, please do follow, share and retweet!”

BRK, Research Assistant, Romantic National Song Network

The Wrath of George Thomson Revealed!

Back in January, I started thinking about the repurposing of tunes by Georgian composers – whether arrangements, piano variations or other interpretations.  Rossini particularly came to mind, because his operatic airs were so very heavily used – but it wasn’t just Rossini’s rights that intrigued me – what about all the other instances of repurposed tunes?  I blogged, and then I threw the question open to the Claimed From Stationers’ Hall network, and – as I’ve already posted – Paul Cooper of and German folklorist Jürgen Kloss enthusiastically joined in the discussion, sharing some useful links to articles and postings that I’ve since incorporated into the 5th edition of our bibliography.

George Thomson, by    Henry Raeburn

The conversation continued.  Last week, Jürgen shared evidence that Scottish music publisher George Thomson became very concerned by the upstart Joseph Dale pirating piano music by Ignaz Pleyel that he, Thomson, had originally published.  (I’ve used the Copac spelling of Pleyel’s forename here.)

German folklorist Jürgen’s thread was so intriguing that I offered to blog it in its entirety, and what follows is his input.  I’d like to thank him for so graciously allowing me to reproduce his narrative on this blog.

Guest Blogpost by Jürgen Kloss

Kloss Hennef


Kloss 1 Morning Chronicle Thomson warning re Dale
Morning Chronicle, 27.3.1794, BBCN

@juergenkloss (Jürgen Kloss) 12 Feb:  Further to our early copyright discussions as to who “owns” the music?,  I found this ad: “Musical Imposition”, in which George Thomson – editor and publisher of Scottish songs – warns against a “spurious” ed. of sonatas by Pleyel, publ. by J. Dale:-





Kloss 2 Dale advertisement
OAPA, 12.3.1794

Indeed, Thomson regarded Dale’s ed. (ad in OAPA, 12.3.1794) as an attack on his own investment: “G. Thomson, who, having paid a very great price to Mr. Pleyel, for the property of these Works, will certainly defend his right against every attempt, however artful, to deprive him of it.”






Of course Mr. Dale kept on publishing these works: Twelve Grand Sonatas for the Piano Forte or Harpsichord […] In Which are Introduced a Variety of Scotch Airs, Book 2 (1798) (this copy in the University of Iowa Digital Library):- … And he claimed to have the original editions:-

Kloss 3 Pleyel published by Dale
Pleyel – Twelve Grand Sonatas

Even several years later, in some editions of his Select Collection, Mr. Thomson still warned against the “wretched imitation” published by Dale.

Kloss 4 Thomson later warning … 

Kloss 5 Reeve and Braham Robin AdairAnd here’s another disputed instance: that of “Robin Adair”.  (See Jurgen’s blog of 2014, link below.)  This old tune was revived in 1811. Composer William Reeve wrote a new arrangement and John Braham sang it with a new text. The new “Robin Adair” was a great hit… … 

…and of course other publishers quickly offered their own editions. But Mr. Reeve sent letters to newspapers warning against “spurious” editions. This letter even appeared on the title-page of the sheet music, see below: …

Kloss 6 Reeve about copyright

Interestingly, composer J. Mazzinghi couldn’t resist publishing an answer to Mr. Reeve’s claims in his own edition of “Robin Adair”. He said it was a big success because of the tune and Braham’s performance (and Reeve had no rights to the song)! …

Kloss 7 Mazzinghi

Of course: songs are money, especially popular hits like this one. Later it was claimed that “in one year, […] upwards of two hundred thousands copies” of the sheet music were sold. Therefore it is understandable that Reeve was a little bit nervous about competing editions:-

Kloss 8 Aileen Aroon

There is much fascinating detail to absorb in these stories that  Jürgen has generously shared with us.


Jürgen’s newspaper references are available via these electronic resources:-

Kloss sources

Kloss HennefJürgen also traced a reference to a paper that Claire Nelson gave at the International Musicological Society’s 17th Congress in Leuven, in 2002.  Here’s the abstract:-

Claire Nelson paper International Musicalogical Society 17th Congress 2002 Leuven

The paper wasn’t published in its entirety that year – just the abstract, in the conference programme above – but the good news is that it became a chapter in Nelson’s doctoral thesis in 2003, when she completed her DMus at the Royal College of Music.  The thesis can now be downloaded free of charge via the British Library’s EThOS service.

Nelson, Claire M., Creating a notion of ‘Britishness’ : the role of Scottish music in the negotiation of a common culture, with particular reference to the 18th century accompanied sonata (Royal College of Music, 2003, Access from EThOS:-                    

Go to page 240 of Nelson’s thesis to read more about George Thomson’s disgust at Joseph Dale’s shameful piracy.  She quotes (and provides an English translation) from a letter that Thomson wrote to Pleyel in 1794:-

“Dale has done something most shameful and most offensive. He has published three sonatas with Scottish airs, exactly on the same plan as mine, and their title is engraved in the same way and almost in the same words, your name is given as the composer! His intention is evidently to deceive the public and without regard to my sonatas, pass a work supposedly of your composition, I have published an advert revealing the fraud, and hope that you have had no part in the work of Dale.”

Thesis footnote 102, translating the French original reproduced in Pincherle’s 1928 article,  (Marc Pincherle,  ‘L’Edition Musicale au dix-huitieme siecle: Une letter de Thomson a Ignace Pleyel’, Musique i (1928), pp.493-498), p.496.


Earlier Claimed From Stationers’ Hall Blogposts that you might enjoy:-


And of course there’s much more to be found in the network Bibliography!

Of particular interest in this context are the articles by William Lockhart ( ‘Trial by Ear: Legal Attitudes to Keyboard Arrangement in Nineteenth-Century Britain’, Music & Letters, 93.2 (May) (2011), 191–221 [accessed 31 January 2018]) and Charles Michael Carroll (‘Musical Borrowing: Grand Larceny or Great Art?’, College Music Symposium, 18.1 (1978), 11–18 [accessed 12 January 2019]) – but seriously, there is a lot more to read if you’re keen to find out more!  And of course, don’t forget that Jürgen Kloss and Paul Cooper have both written extensively on the subject – their blogposts are also listed in the bibliography, naturally.

(I must confess that I’m eager to download Pleyel’s Twelve Grand Sonatas – whatever the edition! – to see what they’re like, too!)

Updated, Illustrated Bibliography

What could be more cool than an extensive, updated bibliography full of good stuff about music copyright and legal deposit history, and its context in 18th-19th century cultural life? I agree – there couldn’t possibly be anything more delightful! And this time, it’s illustrated. Not only that – our guest bloggers are listed as well. Thanks again to each of them for their contributions!

Here on the blog, there’s a page specially for the network bibliography:-


Sharing Opportunities

Placeholder ImageFollowers of this blog may like to sign up to news briefings from the Institute of English Studies’ School of Advanced Study at the University of London. The latest briefing includes news about fellowship opportunities, and advance information about the London Rare Books School in June, with a course run by our friend Giles Bergel (Oxford/UCL) and Elizabeth Savage (IES) – about printing of an earlier era than we normally concentrate on, but very interesting nonetheless!

Research Impacts: Asking You!



The other day, I blogged about research outcomes.  Much joy has been experienced in the logging of these – it’s actually quite rewarding to look back and see what has been achieved in one and a half days a week.  (Okay, some was admittedly achieved in evenings and weekends as well.  But an outcome’s an outcome, isn’t it?!)

However, if you’ve had an opportunity to glance at my recent guest-blogpost for IAML (UK and Ireland Branch), you’ll realise that the outcomes are only one side of the story.  So, today I’ve been contemplating research impacts.  This project has made networking connections with loads of people, libraries and organisations, so there’s no denying there has been impact within academia … but what about beyond the ivory towers?!  Some of the organisations have a preponderance of researchers, but others certainly embrace both academia and those in non-academic circles.

So, here’s my appeal to you: if you’ve been enjoying following the project, and you feel we’ve in any way influenced you in your academic OR non-academic existence, I’d positively love to hear from you.  I know I haven’t been blogging into a void, because people do respond to what they see … but I’d hate to think I had overlooked some impact or influence that was worth shouting about!  Similarly, do let me know what you’d like to happen next.

I’ve allowed comments on this post – but any form of communication, social-media or otherwise, would be very warmly welcomed!  Thank you.

Pathways, Outputs and Impacts: Being a Librarian-Researcher Today

gold-cobblestonesIAML (UK & Ireland) Guest-Blogpost

At last year’s Annual Study Weekend of my professional organisation (the International Association of Music Libraries, UK and Ireland Branch), I spoke to members about my experiences of successfully seeking research-grant funding.  And now here’s my guest-blogpost reminding colleagues about it:-

via Pathways, Outputs and Impacts: Being a Librarian-Researcher Today